Somebody Needs You
[The Next Afternoon]
"What are you staring at?" she asked moving so she could curl her arms around his stomach and hug him from behind.
Lance turned his head a pressed a kiss her temple. "Gabby has gotten so big. I mean it's only been a few months and she seems like she's grown a foot."
"Oh." Colleen tried not to make it sound like she was upset with his comment, but how could she not be. That day had been a nightmare when it came to dealing with Gabby and Patty. The whole house had been tense since they'd walked through the door and if Colleen had been the host of the party she would have asked them to not come over in the first place.
Keeping her mouth shut she moved away from him to begin the search for her swimsuit. Keeping herself busy would help her not say the hundred and one comments that came to mind when he mentioned Patty and Gabby.
Lance sighed and went over to his dresser, stripping out of his shorts he slid into his suit and let out a bit of a laugh. "That girl is amazing."
Colleen bit her lip knowing full well that there were two women in the yard that he probably was talking about. She hated to admit it, because she wasn't normally a jealous person, but she wished that he'd have that kind of a passion about her. In bed they seemed to be each other's whole worlds, but outside, in the light of day she had a hard time trying to figure out where she stood with him. He called her his girlfriend, but it seemed that she wasn't getting the full rights that a normal girlfriend would have.
The ringing of a cell phone made them both search for their phones. Colleen picked hers up when she saw that it was flashing and held it to her ear. "Hello?"
"Lee, what's up?"
Her eyes squeezed shut and she turned away from Lance so he wouldn't see her ___expression. He didn't need to know that this was the point where she would start crying to Stacey about how great and how bad the weekend had been for her. She didn't want Lance to know that even though most of the weekend had gone off without a hitch for them, that now that Patty had arrived, she wasn't having fun and would gladly take the next flight home if she could.
"Hey Ree." She knew that she was doing a horrible job of making herself sound happy and knowing Stacey she'd already be able to tell that things weren't going as planned, not that there was really a plan.
"Babe, I'm gonna go down there." Lance leaned around her and kissed her cheek. "Tell Stacey I said hi. I'll see you in a minute."
Colleen nodded and bit her lip. Tears were already in her eyes, not that he was leaving her up there alone and going down to the others, but because in the back of her mind she knew she’d be wondering the whole time who he was talking to and what they were saying.
"What's the matter? You haven't called...what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong. We've just been busy." She grabbed at her clothes and threw them onto the bed furiously when she heard his feet on the stairs. "I flew in and met his parents and then yesterday we went to this skills challenge thing then a party then today we watched the celebrity basketball game then there is this picnic then a party tonight then I get on a plane tomorrow afternoon. There hasn't been much time to take a breath, let alone talk."
"Bull shit. I'm your best friend.” Colleen wanted to tell her instantly that she didn’t need to be reminded of this. All of a sudden it seemed that Stacey was angry because she wasn’t as involved in Colleen’s little adventure as she had been in past adventures. “--And I know when something's wrong with you. Spill it."
She sighed heavily knowing there was no point in trying to lie to Stacey about the situation, "Everything is fine--except--"
"Except what?" Her sigh could be heard over the phone. "This is like pulling teeth with you sometimes.
Colleen pulled her suit out and began to undo her jean shorts so that she could get into her bikini bottoms. "It's nothing. It's just...I'm being girly and jealous and I'm just confused."
Stacey paused for a long moment as if waiting for more information then finally prompted her to give out more information. "Does 'nothing' have a name?"
"Patty-“ She held onto the edges of her pants with one hand and moved towards the window making sure that her pants didn't fall down as she took a moment to look out the window. She found Gabby and Patty helping Joey and Chris set up the valley ball net in the corner of the yard. “She's his sort of ex--not his ex. She's got this kid who's cute as hell and he's been spending a lot of time with them..."
“So tell him to get his ass in gear."
Colleen had to smile at the way that Stacey put things so bluntly. "Ree--I can't tell him to get his ass in gear.” She sighed, depressed by the scene below and went to lay on the bed, thinking only for a moment about the experiences that she’d shared with Lance in that bed. “Who in the hell am I to tell him anything?"
"Oh! I see. So you're not the one who spent the night with him in New York and had him over in LA and you're NOT sleeping in his bed this weekend?” She spat out suddenly sounding like her attorney instead of her friend. “You're not staying at his house? You're not--"
"It's not that easy. Just because we're sleeping together doesn't give me the right to tell him who he can and can't talk to." Colleen turned her head quickly when she heard a noise out in the hallway , "Ree...I gotta go. I'll call you back later."
"Don't you start crying about this girl."
"I can hear it in your voice. I know you are."
"I am not. Leave me alone."
"Stop crying then."
Colleen caught some movement in the hallway out of the corner of her eye and wiped her cheeks quickly trying to erase the emotions that had suddenly fallen onto her shoulders. "I'm not crying."
"Bull shit. Call me."
"You ok?" Dani said leaning in the door way.
"Yeah," she said rebuttoning her top shorts button, "I think I'm crying because I'm so tired. Does that sound stupid?"
"No." Dani leaned against the door jam. "Not at all. Especially in this house. I used to get calls from Chris all the time when they were in Europe and he'd just cry and cry and tell me that it was all dumb and that he wanted to come home and then five minutes later he'd be hyper as hell wanting to jump on stage."
"I'm being too girly," she said, "I never am this girly."
“Ok,” Colleen reached for the yellow crayon, keeping a hand on Brianna’s back so she wouldn’t lean back and fall off the bench. Her eyes searched the yard, instantly locking onto where Lance was trying to teach Gabby how to set a volleyball ball. Patty was standing next to them and as much as she wanted to believe that he was only friends with this woman and that she had nothing to worry about, her heart was still hurting to know that he was over there and she was over here.
“Dis a big biword,” Brianna pointed at the Sesame Street cartoon character on the page and she turned her attention back to the page in front of her.
“You know you don’t have to hang out with her all day,” Joey said coming over with Trey in his arms.
“Really it’s ok.” She glanced up to see Lance standing with Patty talking and then looked back at Brianna. “Brianna and I are having fun.”
Joey leaned towards her. “No offense, but you seem like you’re bored.”
“Not at all,” she said, “It’s just been a long weekend and I’m in need of a huge nap. I think I’m gonna go home and sleep for the next week. You all know how to throw a party.”
“That’s what we do,” Joey said and moved to sit next to his daughter, who started to move away from her coloring to look at her baby brother.
"Disa yewwo.” She held up the crayon to Trey’s face, but the baby had his eyes closed.
"Jelly Bean be careful. I don’t think Trey is ready to learn how to color.”
“Other than that are you doing ok?” Joey asked.
“Yeah,” she said.
“You sure?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she nodded again wondering what kinds of things were going around about her. She didn’t want to look bored. She was having a really good time.
Lance looked in the ice chest on the porch and didn’t find what he wanted so he slipped inside the house.
"What do you think you are doing?"
Lance went to the refridgerator, passing where Dani was sitting on the counter next to where Farzana and Meredith both were standing. "Huh what do you mean?"
Kelly came into the room, suddenly cornering him into the corner of the kitchen. "Lance, do we have to remind of you of all the shit she put you through when she took Gabby and left you?"
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“Patty,” Farzana said, “I know that she’s my friend and all, but do you really think that it’s a coincidence that she’s here this weekend?”
“Gabby wanted to visit.”
“More like Patty wanted to visit and stick that knife further into your heart,” Dani said and sipped her drink.
"Dani- no one knows how that felt more than me.” He paused and opened up the beer in his hands. “This is supposed to be a family picnic and I am trying to be friendly with her for Gabby's sake."
"Yeah meanwhile hurting your so-called girlfriend in the process.” Meredith pointed out towards the picnic table. “Do you even REALIZE what mixed signals you are giving her?"
"Mixed signals?” he asked, “Hmm Meredith, let’s not go there Miss Hi Good Morning America-I’m quitting my job.”
Meredith threw a piece of ice at him. "Lance you are a really nice guy but sometimes you can be such a bastard! Colleen is sitting outside COLORING with a 2 year old while you are making nice with your ex-whatever the hell she was."
"Colleen doesn't care-“ He looked outside and saw her laughing with Joey over something. She looked like she was having a blast and she hadn’t complained of anything more than just having too much fun that weekend. “She is content just to hang out. I explained how things were going to be this weekend. Besides, she knows how I feel."
"Does she? Does she really?” All three girls were looking out the window when Chris came in the door.
“Dani?” Chris said.
"Get out!” she said forcefully.
“What?” Chris said holding up his hands. He looked at Lance then ducked back out into the yard as he breathed out, “You’re in trouble.”
“Why all of a sudden am--"
“Cause she keeps looking at you with this pathetic wistful look in her eye. I also heard her on the phone before with some girl she calls Ree crying. She is not okay... and she doesn't know where she stands with you. Go make it right before you screw up the best thing that has ever happened to you."
"You guys don't know what you're talking about," Lance said.
"Honey will you go out and get some more charcoal?" His mother ducked her head into the room, looked around then smiled, "It's above your tool chest on the counter. Your dad forgot to bring it out."
Lance nodded and left the room giving all of them a dirty look, knowing full well that at least one of them would be following him to wherever he was about to escape to.
"Have you seen Lance?" she asked looking around and not finding him. She'd seen him go into the house earlier, but hadn't seen him come out again so she was wondering where he was. She felt comfortable enough to mingle with his family and friends, but after spending the day before with his public she was missing just seeing him alone.
"He was on his way to the garage the last time I checked," Diane was moving food around so that Jim could put the meat on the barbeque.
She walked around the side of the house and found her way through the door that led into the garage. Finding it slightly open she leaned in and saw that Lance was throwing darts at the far wall. She was about to say something when she noticed the way he was throwing as if he was trying to throw the dart through the wall. She didn't like the heavy way he was breathing as if he had just run a mile. He was extremely frustrated, that didn't take a genius to see.
"What do you want?" He asked harshly.
She opened her mouth and was about to answer when someone else answered for her.
Dani's voice came from the corner of the garage. "I want you to get your head out of your ass and do something."
"Do what?" he asked. "I already invited her here because you told me too. What else do you want? I'm not running a charity here."
She slammed the door and bit down on her lip. She didn't know what the reason was or why she was really there. That had changed in the two seconds that she'd heard his reason for invited her.
Her feet carried her back around to the back door and she walked through the kitchen, already feeling the tears on her cheeks.
"What the hell is her problem?" Patty's voice rang out from near the refridgerator.
"You!" Colleen said, "You are everyone's problem here!" Colleen screamed at her then looked at Meredith started to say something but shut her mouth. "You know what? I'm sorry that none of these people can tell you this to your face, but really no one wants you here!" She sighed and saw Lance come into the door. She closed her eyes for a moment when she realized that Lance's whole family was now staring at her like she'd lost her mind. "I shouldn't be here." She spoke softly. "I'm really sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bass. I really didn't mean to embarrass you. I'm really sorry." She turned and walked out of the room leaving anyone to stare at her back as she went up to the second floor.
"Colleen." She heard the voice behind her and she felt tears on her face. She was insane, clearly insane from the way she was acting. She had wanted to say these things, wanted to scream that she was his and he was hers, but reality had set in and it was clear that that their worlds weren't going to allow that.
"Colleen wait up."
"Meredith be careful on those stairs," she heard Justin say behind them.
She turned around and looked at Meredith who was following her, holding a hand over her slightly pregnant stomach. "Wait up."
Colleen waited for her at the top of the stairs and the two girls locked themselves into the master bedroom.
"What the hell just happened?"
"I've completely snapped." She covered her mouth and looked around with wide eyes. "I don't even know what happened."
There was a knock at the door.
"Go away!" Meredith called.
"Bear," Justin said, "It's just me. Are you guys ok?"
"Yeah BeeDee," Meredith said, "Go down and yell at your friend!"
There was a laugh that came from the other side of the door before his voice came through the doorway. "Ok."
"I'm being so stupid and I just cracked up in front of--" She took a deep breath. "They're all going to think I'm psycho. I never act like this--" She could hear the way that her voice had turned to almost pleading. "I never act this way. I'm better than this. I know that sounds stupid, but I don't act this way ever."
"It is understandable to be this way, since Patty is here." She moved across the room. "I can't believe that she even showed up. The woman has got some balls if you ask me."
"What exactly happened with them?" Colleen said then covered her mouth. "It's really none of my business."
"It should be." Meredith rolled her eyes. "I really don't know how Lance can always be considered one of the smarter of these groups of guys. He may know how to run a business, but the man doesn't know how to work a relationship with anyone."
"It's really not that bad."
"See," Meredith said, "That's exactly what I'm talking about. I know that you don't want to be the pushy one here, but sometimes that boy needs a kick in the ass about things."
"Yeah," she said, "A kick in the ass to invite me here. I don't even understand how everything got so out of control. I know better than to assume stuff." She sighed. "I went into the garage to tell him that I was going to take a nap and he was telling Dani that he was forced to bring me here. I'm sooo stupid. I should have stayed in LA."
"Assume that he actually liked me. I knew we had this fling going and I never should have crossed that line."
"What did you assume there?" she acted. "He has introduced you to everyone here as his girlfriend and he clearly has invited you into his bedroom and now you're saying that you got mixed signals from him? THAT isn't your fault. You're not the one to blame here. You're going along with all the information that he's given you which to the naked eye would say that you were his girlfriend."
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