Snap Shots Series: Picture Perfect

Twelve:


"What the hell were you thinking!"

Lance scooted down in the conference room chair and stared at the wall just above Johnny's head. He wanted to look like he was paying attention, but he really didn't want to look the guy in the eyes. He was scared what he'd see if he did make eye contact.

He'd been back in town for almost two hours before Johnny had paged him 911 and had insisted that he come to the compound to talk. He didn't even bother to ask the guy why he was needed at the compound. He knew that things had gotten back to Johnny and he knew when he entered the conference room that he was going to get scolded for this one."

"Your first mistake was flying off to New York without telling me, which I will forget because it turns out that the whole controversy over this girl has brought a lot of attention to your video."

Lance smiled. He knew there was a method to his madness and the added bonus of the press paying attention to them was a good thing in his eyes. Publicity was publicity these days.

"Thatís not all I have to say to you young man." Johnny frowned and sat down across from here. "Lance, you know that none of us here is against you having someone in your life, but the next time you'd like to announce it on television please come and see us before you do it! We've been swamped with phone calls here and Melinda has been on the Internet and hasn't heard very good things about this new relationship."

"I didn't do this to cause trouble," Lance said lying through his teeth. He really hadn't meant to cause trouble at JIVE. He'd just wanted to ruin Willa's day. "Why would I want to jeopardize the work I've put in for the last five years?"

Johnny scratched his chin and glared at him. "Has her publicist released anything to the press yet?"

"No," Lance said calmly. "I told her I didn't think it was necessary."

"Well look at this then," Johnny slid a section of the New York Times across to him.

The headline on the inside page of the entertainment section read:

"Boyband more popular than Calvin Klein."

Lance read the article quickly. The gist of the article, from what Lance could see, was that her boyfriend had dumped Willa and the cause of the break up was his announcement. The thing that Johnny seemed to be focusing on was the fact that the article made Lance out to be the home wreaking kind of guy. This didn't reflect on him or the band well, which then reflected back on Johnny badly since he was the one in charge of all of them.

"I didn't think it would be that big of a deal," Lance said casually. He knew he was in trouble, but if he pled innocent to any of Johnny's charges then there wasn't anything that they really could do to him.

"Sure you didn't Lance. I heard about how Willa embarrassed you on the set a few weeks ago. This better not be part of some plan to get the girl back. Too many people are involved now and you just made the announcement yesterday."

Lance got up from the table and began to pace. "I don't need the scolding Johnny," he said. "I made the announcement and I'm willing to take whatever comes my way."

"Are you even dating this girl?" Johnny asked.

"Yes," Lance said. It was another lie, but why start counting now. He'd already committed the biggest sin of his life by telling the world that he and Willa were together. What were a few more lies?

"Then bring her around."

"We've got a date set for the MTV VMA's. She'll be there with us when we win all the awards."

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch," Johnny said.

"I'm not Johnny," Lance said. Lance pounded on the table top for dramatic effect. "The relationship trouble is going to bring more people to want to watch the video. They're gonna wanna see if Willa and I are as hot for each other as they may think. You know that when people want to see the video that sales go up and that can mean only good things for all of us. I think this couldn't have been better if we'd planned this out. Just trust me on this one. Things aren't going to go down the drain with this one."

Johnny stared at him.

"Look, I'm out of here. I just got back in town and I haven't been home yet."

"Fine," Johnny said, "You keep track of what's going on with this. If it gets out of control I'm going to have to take action."

"It's not going to."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"They want me to do what?" Willa asked angrily. It had been only a day since she'd been at the Viacom studios for the taping and already the news had gotten out that she and Brennan were no more. He'd probably rushed home to tell his publicist that he was a free man again and no doubt had told the whole story to someone he shouldn't have.

"Honey, calm down. I know you don't want to do this, but the MTV people have called, JIVE has called, hell, even Wayne Isham himself called and left you messages about this."

Willa stomped her foot. "I'm not doing it. I trusted you last time to keep me away from that man and now look at what I've gotten myself into. Brennan is now trashing me in the news and Lance is sitting some where I'm sure laughing at me."

"You can't be that paranoid. I've had about a fifty percent increase in the calls for you. Your press packets are flying out the door like there is no tomorrow."

"I don't care."

"Yes you do honey. I've already booked shoots with GAP and OLD NAVY and Martha Stewart Magazine wants you to call them for an interview. Also Sports Illistrated called and wanted to see if you were free in April to do the swimsuit edition."

"Really?" Willa asked. She knew that those were big accounts to land, but she still felt wrong about getting the attention from lying.

"Yes honey. I'm going to have to hire an assistant if I get any more calls about you."

"Really?" Willa said. This was what she'd wanted all along. She'd been wanting to get the new IT girl, but now that it was all falling into her lap she knew that she wouldn't be satisfied. Lance was the reason for all of this and until she stepped out of that shadow nothing that came from it would mean anything.

"So will you go to the VMA's?" she asked.

"I can't make any promises. That's a long time away, but pencil it in so that if I do decide to go then I won't be skipping out on something important."

"You won't regret this honey."

"Yes I will," she mumbled and hung up the phone.

She sat down on the couch and then dialed Elena back.

"What do you need honey?" Elena asked.

"Can you try and get me a number where I can reach Lance?" Willa asked. It was a humbling thing to do, but she needed to talk to him about all of this and set some ground rules before they were seen in public together again.

"Are you sure you want to talk to him?"

"Yes," she said in a firm tone. We have some things to work out before I go and spend a whole evening with the man."

"Fine honey. I'll get the number and call you back."

"I'll be waiting," Willa said. "I'm not going to hold my breath or anything, but I do need it as soon as you can get it to me."

"No problem honey."

"Thank you Elena."

"It's all part of the job," Elena said.

"Yeah right. How many other girls do you call up to ask about their boyfriends?"

"Not many. You're on a special list."

"Sure, sure," Willa said, "Remind me and I'll bring by those cookies you like so much the next time I come to the office."

"Oh you're a doll," Elena said.

"I know, I know. Keep reminding me of that, because if any more shit hits the fan I'm going to rip Lance's head off of his shoulders!"

"Well that one I won't be able to help you out of, so warn me before you do it so I can leave the country."

"I will Elena."

"Oh, by the way," Elena said. "Call your family. Someone called here while I was at lunch, but the temp person lost the message."

"Thanks Elena. And don't kill the temp."

"I won't."


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