Snap Shots Series: Picture Perfect
"So we don't get lost," Lance said as he took her hand the next morning as they walked into the airport.
The day before had been hectic and fun and the whole time they'd pretended to be a happy little couple. She'd come home that night to Lance's house and the pretending didn't stop, although she wasn't exactly sure why. They ended up falling asleep in front of the television watching home movies of him and the guys that he'd told her about during the day. Lance slept on the larger couch and she on the smaller couch and when they woke up that morning they even continued the playing. Somehow it seemed as if neither one of them wanted to let go of the happiness they'd found the day before.
"Good one Lance," Willa said with a smile, "Are you going to tell Tracy you've stolen her line?"
Lance curled his arm bringing her up closer to him. "It's not her line," he said leaning close to her, "I just want to make sure that we don't get separated from each other. We only have a little while until your flight leaves and I don't want you to get lost."
"Sure," she said, "Whatever Lance."
Wes laughed from next to them and Willa watched Lance turn to him. "What's your problem?"
"Nothing," Wes said and winked at Willa.
They were buying it. Everyone was buying it, but she wasn't sure if the two of them could keep it up. She didn't know if it was true or was just playing, but she didn't want to ask and ruin the moment if it wasn't.
"Reporter six o'clock," Wes said in a hushed voice.
Lance pulled his hat down lower on his head and looked at Willa. "You ok?"
"Yeah," she nodded and went along with him to her gate. She'd be leaving at nine and he would be flying out at nine thirty-five so he was going to wait with her at the gate until he needed to leave.
"So Spanky is going to meet you at the gate and drive you home. He's going to be on call. He'll give you his pager number and I want you to use it. If you think that something isn't right call him and he'll come over and get you, ok?"
Willa nodded. "I don't like the idea of calling a grown man Spanky…does he have a real name?"
Lance laughed a little. "Yeah. It's William."
"Good," she said.
They made it to the gate and took a seat near the windows.
"So where do you go from here?"
"Back to San Diego for two days then we're going to be down in Rio De Janero for a week then we're taking off the month for Christmas Break."
"No traveling for a while?" she asked.
"We're going to be recording the new album. I think we're going to record some in New York. Maybe I'll stop by while I'm up there."
Willa couldn't believe her ears. He was actually suggesting that he'd come and see her. She knew that this was an important moment for the both of them especially since there weren't any reporters or cameras around. This was him actually telling her that he wanted to see her again.
"Sounds fine with me," she said, "IF I'm in town. I have shoots all next month."
"What are you doing for Christmas?" he asked.
"Nothing," she said with a shrug. "I took that week off. I thought I'd fly out and see my parents for a while, but I don't know if I'll get out to Seattle this year."
"Seattle?" he asked.
"Yeah, my father and mother work at the University of Washington as professors."
Lance stopped and stared at her for a moment then kept walking. "Professors? And they let you get away and go to New York to model?"
Willa nodded. "Well I started modeling in Washington, then worked my way down to LA then came out this way."
"You've been in this business for a lot longer than I thought," he said.
"I've been working steadily since I was sixteen, back about 1995," she laughed a little. "I remember you guys when you were in Europe way back when. I wanted to catch one of your shows, but my managers wouldn't let me."
"When was that?" he asked. He suddenly seemed way too interested in her.
"Way back when you guys were playing little venues in Stockholm."
"Wow," he said.
"Yeah, I did a shoot for a winter line and we were staying there. I heard your stuff on the radio all the time," Willa smiled.
Wes nudged Lance and they looked around for a moment. They'd gotten caught in their conversation and hadn't noticed that the plane was about to board.
"You should get going Willa," Wes said with a smile to her.
Willa turned and hugged Lance. "Give me a call when you get to LA."
Lance nodded. "I won't be able to probably tonight because we're supposed to go to a movie premiere tonight, but I'll give you a ring in the morning."
She nodded again and for a moment felt like crying, as if this was all real and that she was going to miss him. But as he turned to her and held her hand she realized that she would miss him. Not the guy who'd she'd met at the party, or the guy that she'd kissed in the video, but the one in front of her who was pretending for the moment to be madly in love with her.
Don't do this Lance. Don't do this.
His head spun as they stared at each other that one last moment before she broke away from him and went towards the gate. Wes and Loni both waved, but he turned away after she entered the small walkway that would lead her to her seat.
"Come on, let's get out of here."
Wes turned to him and caught his arm. "Wait a second."
Lance turned around from where he'd started to walk away and saw her standing in the doorway watching him.
Don't do this Lance. Don't do this. Don't you dare fall in love with her. It's not part of the plan. It's not and don't even think about making it part of the plan.
Lance was about to walk over to her, but she stopped him with a wave. She pointed to her eye, then her heart, then to him.
Not knowing exactly what to do Lance repeated the action back to her, then turned and stalked away from the gate without a word to Loni or Wes. They had to practically run to catch up with him.
He was almost to the gate when his phone rang.
Lance thought for a moment. It wasn't Willa and it wasn't his mother or Kerri or anyone else from back home. "Melinda?"
"Yeah," she said in a somber tone.
"Mel, what's wrong?" Lance's mind began to run quickly as he waited for an answer. Melinda usually wasn't the type of person to get upset and if things were wrong they were usually big things.
"Lance, I have some bad news," she said.
"Is it my mom? Dad? Stacy?"
"No honey. It's Tracy," Melinda said.
"What?" Lance said.
"Her mother called me a minute ago to get a message to you."
"She died this morning."
Lance dropped the phone and turned around to face the direction he'd just come in.
"What's wrong Lance?"
"I have to stop her."
"Stop what?" Loni asked.
Wes picked up the phone and began to try to figure out what was going on with Melinda, that was until Lance took off for the gate they'd just been at.
Pushing past people and knocking over a rack of advertisement pamphlets for the Orlando tourist scene, Lance wound his way back to the gate, just in time to see the plane pulling back from the gate.
"You have to stop that flight!" he said running up to the counter.
The woman standing there looked alarmed by his actions and some passengers began to stare at him. "Excuse me?"
"I have to talk to someone…" He took some deep breaths trying to catch his breath. "I have to talk to someone on that flight. It's really important."
"I'm sorry sir," the woman said.
"Look," he said and held his breath for a moment. "My girlfriend is on that flight and one of our friends died this morning and she doesn't know about it."
The woman gave him a sympathetic look. "I'm sure that this is all--"
"Never mind," Lance said looking at her. Somehow he knew that she wasn't going to help him. "Just tell me when the next flight to JFK airport is."
The woman looked at her computer screen for a moment. "The next one leaves at eleven."
Lance flung his backpack onto the counter and pulled out his ticket. "I need to trade this ticket for one to JFK. Do whatever you have to do. If you bump someone off the flight I'll pay for them to stay in Orlando for the night. I just need a seat on that flight."
Wes and Loni finally joined him at the counter and a few moments later Lance had a ticket to JFK instead of LAX.
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