Snap Shots Series:  Picture Perfect

Twenty


"So are you deaf now too?" Lance said in an overly sarcastic tone, mimicking the way that Willa had spoken to him all those months ago when she'd snuck up behind him in the hotel store in the middle of the night and he hadn't answered.

Willa turned all the way around in her seat and rolled her eyes at him. "How original."

He didn't think twice about what he did next. He smiled widely at her. He knew would annoy her. He could imagine the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end when he'd first spoken to her. She didn't seem nervous though, which he expected. He knew that even if she did happen to be nervous she wouldn't let him see it. She was still trying to keep up the tough act, but he knew that she wasn't that tough. She'd seen it the night she'd shown up at his hotel room. He still wasn't sure if all of that was just part of her act or if she'd really been upset that night, but there had been something he'd seen in her, while she'd slept next to him that he wanted to see again. He needed to see that again.

Saying something smart-ass right then would have been appropriate considering their relationship, but Wes glared at him and he stopped himself from speaking. They were in a public place of course and he didn't need to cause a scene. Instead he went around and pulled a chair up from another table and joined them while Loni pulled up a chair and sat down too. They'd been in the airport for just fifteen minutes, but Lance had planned to meet Wes there after he'd gotten Willa.

"Well isn't this cozy," Wes said with a laugh as tension settled over the group. He looked over at Loni for a moment and looked at his watch. "I thought you guys weren't getting in until seven."

"We caught an earlier flight," Lance said and scooted his chair closer to Willa. He wanted to see how she'd react to it, but found that she seemed bored with the whole situation and didn't even look back when he put a hand around the back of her chair. She was definitely in a bad mood. She had turned away from him as he'd sat down, which he had understood, but he figured that she would turn back, even it was to insult him. He wondered for a moment if she was watching everyone's reflections in the window, but didn't think she'd try to be that sly about watching him and the others.

"So Willa, how was the flight?"

Willa looked at him for a moment then pushed her chair back. "I'll be back."

"Where are you going?" he asked standing up when she got up to leave.

"To the restroom if you must know," she said as she slid by him and walked across the room towards where the restrooms were.

He noticed her clothes as she left. The jeans and long sleeved shirt were very casual for her. He'd never seen her except for when they'd been making appearances or had been doing press. He liked this more relaxed looking version of her, but wondered if she was really more relaxed than she had been the last time he'd seen her.

He watched her leave then looked at Wes and sat down again. "What'd you do?"

"Me?" Wes said and held up his hands as if surrendering to the onslaught of anger Lance was letting come out in his expression. "Why would you think that I did something?"

Lance turned and saw her disappearing around the corner. "Because she's not bitching at me."

"And that's a bad thing?" Wes said.

"The night's young," Loni said with a laugh. "You never know with that one."

"Shut it Loni." Lance snapped. He normally wasn't rude to the bodyguards, but the situation with Willa caused him to need to use a little different strategy for everything. He stared at Wes, not blinking. "WHAT…DID…YOU…DO?"

"Nothing."

"WHAT DID YOU DO?"

"Hey," Loni said and put an arm out and gripped Lance's arm, "Unless you want to embarrass yourself keep it down."

Lance took a breath and counted to ten in his head. "I just want to know what's wrong with her. That isn't the Willa that smacked me two days ago and it isn't the one that has fought with me every time I've ever seen her."

"I just told her my opinion on some things. Maybe I offended her."

Lance watched him. The guy had been meddling and Lance knew it from the look on his face. He was looking way too innocent for his own good.

"What did you guys talk about?" Lance asked.

"Nothing," Wes said.

Lance leaned across the table and stared at the bodyguard who had been his friend since he'd gotten into the business. "Spit it out Wes. I wanna know why she's so quiet."

"I don't know that," Wes said, "You know women. They do what they're gonna do."

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

"Elena!" Willa said loudly into the payphone just outside the bathroom when she heard Elena's voice on the other end.

"Jesus Willa you don't have to yell."

Willa put her hand to her forhead and let out a deep breath. "I'm sorry."

"What's wrong? Did the jerk not pick you up?"

"No, well yes but that's not why I called." She began to pace as far as the phone cord would let her go.

"So what is it?"

"You love this one," Willa laughed. She stopped and drummed her fingers agains the top of the payphone. "I think he's in love with me."

"What?" She hoped that Elena wasn't eating or something because she knew that she would choke on this one.

Willa leaned against the wall and stared at herself in the glass of the framed picture across from her. "I was talking to his bodyguard and he said that he thinks that Lance is in love with me."

Elena started to laugh.

"Hey? You don't have to laugh too hard about that."

"Honey I'm not laughing at you."

"You better not be."

"I just think it's funny. He must be smoking something because that boy has done nothing to show you anything other than pure hatred." Elena took a breath. "I mean first he insults you then he gets all spoiled brat on you at the video shoot, then he announced on national television--"

"Thanks." She sighed again. "I know what he's done to me."

"Jesus woman you sound like my grandmother. You shouldn't be sighing like this. You know what I mean when I talk about Lance. He's been rude to you since you first met and he's caused you all this trouble. How can anyone in their right mind see that as love?"

Willa sighed. The trouble was that she did see what Wes had said. Lance had been the one to keep their contact. He'd called her for the charity event and had forced them together with the announcement, but there was still part of her that thought that this was all some plan to get her back for the comments she'd made to him when they'd first met.

"That was my argument."

"Honey, ignore this guy and tell that bodyguard to mind his own business." There was a pause. "I bet Lance set this up. It would be just like him to plan something outrageous like that."

"I know," she sighed. "I know."

"You don't sound too sure of that," Elena said.

"I'm not."

Willa hung up the phone and peaked around the corner. She could see Lance, Loni and Wes at the table and they looked like they were arguing about something. She watched Lance slam his fist on the table and Wes stood up. Willa had no clue what was going on, but she knew she had to stop it. Some of the other customers were watching them.

She rushed back over to the table and slid her arm through Lance's. "You wanna take this outside boys?"

Lance stopped and stared at her with an open. She didn't like the look in his eyes. He seemed really angry, which she'd seen thrown in her direction before, but he'd never been that way with anyone else. It scared her. It was one thing for him to be mad at her, she provoked it out of him most of the time, but she couldn't think of any reason that he would be mad at someone that worked with him.

"Now, what were you boys arguing about?" she asked pulling Lance back into his chair. He was still staring at her and for a moment she reveled in the confusion she saw on his face. It was nice, for a change to yet again have an upperhand on the exchange between the two of them. He'd been winning of a while and she wanted to get back in the driver's seat for a change.

"Nothing," Lance said.

"Well, it sure didn't look like nothing and I can tell you it didn't sound like nothing."

Lance pushed her arm off of him and stood up. "I'm gonna go make a phone call."

When Loni got up to go with him he stared at him. "Stay here," Lance said with a tense jaw.

Loni was about to say something when Willa pointed to where she'd been. "There's a phone just over there. He won't even have to leave the restaurant."

Loni stared at her for a moment then sat back down. "Don't leave Lance. You know--"

Lance didn't let him finish. Willa watched him stalk away towards where she'd been on the phone with a heavy heart. Part of her wanted to run after him and comfort him in whatever he was going through, but the other half of her, the part that remembered the scene in the hotel and the marks on her arm thought about how he deserved whatever was coming his way.

"Ah, another nice relaxing evening with Mr. Bass," Willa said with a laugh. She stared at Wes. "What got him so pissed off?"

Wes put his arms up again surrendering. "He wanted to know why you were so quiet. I told you--"

"You don't know what you're talking about. Really." She nodded her head for effect then turned and noticed that Loni was looking in the direction of the restroom with a worried frown on his face. She tapped the man on the shoulder and pushed her chair back. "This goes against everything that my mother ever taught me, but I'll go check on him."

Willa slid away from the table and made her way back to the phone. She was about to round the corner when she saw legs sticking out in the walkway. She leaned around the corner and found Lance sitting on the floor staring at his phone with wide eyes. He still looked upset, but there was a sadness there in his eyes now instead of the anger he'd been showing back at the table.


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