Somebody Needs You 12


Her wake up call that next morning was the sound of a glass shattering. She'd been in the middle of a delicious dream starring herself and Lance when she heard the noise and it only took her a moment to get out of bed thinking that it might be a window, but by the time she got to the living room she found Lance in the kitchen picking up glass.  "I'm sorry," he said, "I'll pay you for a new one."

After realizing that it was only him and Loni in the house she let out a huge sigh.  If it had been someone she didn't know what she would have done, but finding him there was a sweet surprise.  She stepped towards him.  "What are you doing here?"

He stopped her by picking her up off her feet and walking across into the living room.  "Baby you'll hurt your feet."

Her reaction was to hug him as he carried her and it wasn't until he'd set her down on the couch that she realized that Loni was there.  She felt foolish for being literally swept up in his arms and found herself only being able to wave

"Morning Colleen," he said and then turned back to a phone call he was on.  "No.  That was just Colleen.  Lance is making a fool of himself and in the process probably ruining her kitchen."  He let out a laugh.  "Yeah girl, he's making French toast."

"You're making French Toast?" she asked turning in her seat to watch him in the kitchen.

"Yeah," he said.  He looked at the clock.  "I've got about a half hour before I need to get back to the studio then jump on a plane and get back to Orlando.  That leaves me ten minutes to finish this, fifteen to eat, and about five to clean up."

"If you're really cooking, I'll clean up," she said.

"Good," he said.

She heard sizzling and she moved over towards the kitchen.  She stopped at the edge of where the carpet and linoleum met up and leaned against the wall to watch him cook.

"How many do you want?"  he asked with a smile as he flipped two cooking pieces over to the other side.

"Two?" she said.

"Two?" he asked.  "I used Texas Toast with these."

"Texas Toast?"

He held up a piece of bread that was probably twice the thickness of regular bread.  "Texas toast."  He smiled, "I would have used your bread, but I wanted to make it southern style and regular bread doesn't hold up as good."

"Where did you get this?" she asked.

"I sent Loni to get it," he smiled as he checked the toast.  "I also had him get all the other stuff on your list.  I'm not sure what brands you usually get, but Loni got everything on the list so at least you'll have replacements--"

"You really didn't have to--"

"I wanted to," he said, "God knows I've put my foot in my mouth a few times in the last few days and I didn't want you to think that's the way I normally am."

"I didn't--"

He came over and kissed her lips, tasting of orange juice.  "You want juice or coffee?"

"Are you normally this hyperactive when you get yourself an idea?" she asked as she pointed towards the orange juice that was on the counter, not wanting to walk into the kitchen because of the glass.  "You're like the energizer bunny."

"No sleep for the wicked."  He checked the bread again as she sipped orange juice.  "I made French toast, but if you want eggs I can make you that."

"No," she said, "That actually looks really good."

He smiled.  "Well go sit down and I'll bring you your plate."

"At the table?" she asked.

"Yeah, where else?" he asked.

"Can we sit at the coffee table?" she asked, "I almost never use my kitchen table."

"Ok," he said.  He moved around her kitchen for a moment, finding napkins and forks and knives for them and Loni then pointed towards the living room.

"How many do you want Loni?"

"Two," he said, "But cook mine last.  I'll eat them on the road if I have to."

When he took a seat next to her a few moments later the three of them dug into their toast.  She took the first tentative bite and smiled.  "This is really good."

"If anyone ever asks what Mamma Bass taught him, it's this recipe."

"Really?"

He reached for some syrup and put some over his two pieces.  "It's the only thing I know how to cook on a stove.  Barbeque it and I'm fine, but the stove and I don't get along."

Loni looked at his watch.  "We have to leave soon."

Lance stuff almost half a piece of toast in his mouth and chewed it furiously, sucking down milk before he smiled.  "I hate to eat and run, but work calls."

Her heart broke as he pushed himself up.  He downed the rest of his juice and collected up his plate.  "Already?"

"Auditions actually started about a half hour ago and I told them I'd be an hour late," he said as he put the plate down.

Her brain flew into panic mode.  She wanted to scream at him and tell him not to go, but that wasn't the deal for them.  She needed to let him go and see if he was going to come back.  She frowned as the cliché filled her ears.  If you let something go and it comes back to you then it's mean to be.  "Oh God.  I'm so corny."

 She heard the water running and Loni put a hand on her shoulder.  "You ok?"

"Yeah."  She nodded.  "Lance, don't mess with the plates.  I'll get them."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."  She pushed herself up and went over to the kitchen and moved to push the water off so that he wouldn't continue washing them.  "You should head out.  You don't want to be late to work."

"Thanks Babe," he said.  He pulled her into a hug and buried his face into her neck, kissing the skin there.  "I'm gonna leave my Orlando number for you.  I've got voicemail on that line so if you can't get me on my cell you can call me there."

"Ok," she said feeling completely disconnected to everything around her.  "You've got the number here right?"

"Lemme check."  He went over and grabbed his phone up, pressed a few buttons then let her see the screen.  The number of her cell phone was on the screen along with Lee as the nickname that went along with the number.

"That's my cell.  Do you want my house number too?" she asked.

He nodded, pressed a few more buttons then smiled. "Throw it at me sugar."

She rattled off the number and watched him save it and put it in his pocket.  He pulled her into another hug and kissed her.  "I'm gonna miss you."

"What happened to you last night?" she asked.

"What?" he asked.

"You just totally mellowed out," she said.

Loni cleared his throat and tapped his watch, "I don't want to pull you apart, but we need to head out."

"Ok," Lance said.  He kissed her again.  "I'll call sometime in the next few days.  I'm gonna be stuck in meetings--"  He buried his face in her neck again and breathed it.  "Shit..."

"It's ok," she said and prayed to God that she wouldn't start to show any kind of emotion because at a moment like that she'd never be able to stop crying if she started.  "I'll be around and I'm gonna be working the next few days."

"Promise--"  He sighed.  "Never mind."

"Promise what?" she asked.

"Promise that this isn't gonna be the last time we see each other."

Her throat closed up with emotion.  She took deep breaths and sighed to try to ease the tension.  She leaned and kissed him.  "Of course not."

"Good," he said, "I'll be out here until tonight then back to the east coast for the next few days after that.  I--I'll try not to call to early and wake you up."

"It's ok."  There was no calming his worries.  He was definitely in panic mode now.  "I'll leave you a message while you're on your flight."

"Thanks."

"Bye," she said as they started towards the door.  He almost had to be pulled out of the apartment.  He wanted to stay too badly, she could see it in his eyes and at this point she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.


The first day of auditions had been torture.  It wasn't really that the hours had been long, but for him to sit and listen to a thousand people sing had sent him through a range of emotions that had exhausted him, so  when he walked into the main studio again that day he found himself almost dreading what was to come.  The only thing that saved him was the knowledge that they had gone through the applicants and had narrowed them down to twenty people to look over a second time before they would cut them down to a group of five that would go to the finals in New York.  It was one step further in the process to getting this group going after talking about the ins and outs of the whole ordeal for months.

"What's the smile for?" Rachel asked taking a seat next to him.

"Nothing," he said slipping out of his jacket and picking up the packet of headshots in front of him.  Today would be the dance portion of the try-outs since all the girls that they'd picked had been high quality singers.  "I'm just glad to be getting this going."

"Yeah," she said, "But yesterday-"

Yesterday was a whole world away.  It was funny to think of it that way, but things had changed for him the night before.  He couldn't say that it all had to do directly with the way that he and Colleen had spoken, but the idea that she'd actually give enough to sit down and try to understand what he was going through amazed him.  Most girls he'd met since Patty had gone back to England had been the types that would just use his physical body company while they were at a club or after party, but they wouldn't try to understand the inner workings of his day to day life.

"Yesterday wasn't me," he said with a nod.  "Yesterday was three nights of bad sleep with a nice helping of jetlag on the top."

"Oh really?" she asked.  She picked up a pen and started to make some notes then leaned back and looked at him.  "Well what happened last night that changed all that?"  He leaned towards him and spoke in a very low tone so that no one else would hear.  "Who did you sleep with?"

"I spent some time at a friend's house last night and for about three hours kind of forgot that I was working and that I have so much going on in my life.  It was nice."

"What's her name?" Rachel asked.

"Why does it have to be a HER?"

Her eyes narrowed.  "I didn't know you swung that way."

"I don't," he said.  "I'm just saying that why does it have to be a her and why do you have to assume that it was some girlfriend or some clearly insinuated sexual experience that would put a smile on my face?"

"Most guys would-"  She looked at him at another angle and smiled. "Lance you surprise me every day.  Yesterday you came at this with only business on the mind which would surprise me about any twenty something guy doing girl auditions without having it be a dating service for him and now you're telling me that something other than a sexual act has put you in a better mood."  She laughed a little.  "You're a rare man Lance."

"Thank you," he said, "I think."

"So what did you do last night?" she asked.
 
"Just watched a movie and hung out.  It wasn't anything special at all.  It was nice to have that because most times when I'm in LA I've been invited to a million and one parties or I'm over at my band mates houses partying it up.  It was nice to kind of be a couch potato for a few hours."  He knew he should probably continue this conversation.  Rachel and he were going to be working together the next few weeks and he needed to make sure that their working relationship was relaxed because stress at work was the last thing he needed.  "What about you?"

"Last night after you left to go back to the hotel I had to meet with the lawyers of my father's estate.  He had some funky clause in it about something or other and the lawyers decided that they could only meet with me at ten at night on a work night to discuss the matter."

"Really?" he said, "I hate lawyers like that.  Mine keeps calling me randomly to ask me things and I just want to strangle him sometimes because he doesn't understand that I hired him because I didn't want to be the one worried about the little details."

When the door to the studio opened up they both turned their heads to see the twenty girls that had been picked from the day before walk into the room.  Strangely enough he didn't recognize any of them from the day before.  He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but either way they were going to get a fresh start at what they were going to be doing, something that he figured everyone could take advantage of.

^V^V^V^V^V^

Taking advantage.

The words echoed in his ears as he took the piece of paper into his hands.  "Do I have to do this?" he asked.

"Yeah," Rachel said, "Just say all the names and we'll get out of here.  You'll be on a plane back to Orlando and to your friends and family."

"Yeah," he said, "And what are these other fifteen girls supposed to do?"  He narrowed his eyes at her.  "I don't want to pitch a fit, but be a little sensitive about this."

"I am," she said, "I was just--"  She sighed.  "I just was trying to make it easier on you."

He pushed his chair back and pushed himself from his seat as the girls took their places in chairs.  "Well it's not easy and there isn't a way that it will be."  His harsh whisper made her eyes go wide.

He moved around to the other side of the table and leaned back against the table then set down his piece of paper and grabbed up his bottled water.  He sipped water, cleared his throat and picked the piece of paper again.  He noticed how the girls closest to him had their eyes on the piece of paper as if they were little puppies and trying to keep their eyes on the ball they were playing with.

"Ladies, first off I want to thank you all for being here--"

Why did this feel like he was breaking up with them?  He hated stuff like this.  Picking winners was never something anyone liked, but he couldn't imagine a worse torture than to tell someone that they weren't good enough.  They were all good, but with the business he needed the best starting out or the project would bomb.

"It's been a long two days and I want to thank you for your patience.  This has been a really really hard decision--"  Here came the brush off, the it's not you, it's me speech that he hated.

"Anyway."  He coughed and kept his eyes on the paper.  His head swirled and he felt like he was going to throw up.  He reached for his water again and he sipped it again.  "I'm just going to read these names off.  They aren't in any order and I just want to reassure the people that aren't on this list that this doesn't mean that you aren't good, because you've already gotten so far."

"Please just read it," one girl in the front said.

He laughed a little.  "Ok. Ok."  He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and opened them and began to read.  "Zoey Williams, Corey Roberts, Tammy Malaccan, Whitney Sally, and Thy Vo."  The five girls jumped up from their seats and began to hug each other.  The other girls began to murmur in soft voices and soon the whole group of them were up and mingling.  Lance didn't want to be in the middle of them, but when Rachel used the microphone behind him he turned his head.

"We want to get a picture of the winners with Lance because he needs to catch a flight and we're treating everyone to dinner tonight so we'll get you off to go to dinner.  I know you are all starving."  She laughed when the room went silent.  "The tryouts were hard today," she said, "I know I'm starving and I just sat the whole day away."

The girls laughed and while the winners gathered around him Lance felt forever claustrophobic.  The only good thing about the experience was that one of them was wearing the same perfume that Colleen had been wearing and it was a comfort to be thinking of her in the middle of the chaos around him.


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