If Time Permits

Act 2

Chapter Two

Lucy sighed as the door shut behind her, raking her tired eyes over the room. As far as hotels went at last minute, this one wasn't too bad, she mused. The carpet looked clean enough, the bed neatly made. She leaned over to peek into the bathroom to her right and was relieved to see it looked clean as well.

Her shoulders slumped with fatigue and the hand on her suitcase handle loosened, letting it land with a muffled thump on the carpeted floor by the door. Her brown eyes switched from the appealing sight of the queen sized bed to the open bathroom, or more importantly, the claw foot bathtub that was invited her for a soak.

A bath. I definitely need a bath first, she decided.

Her feet felt like lead as she trudged her way into the bathroom, sluggishly shucking her clothes as she went, leaving a trail in her wake. Her tired muscles screamed in protest as she crouched next to the bath tub to turn on the water. She really hated flying. Being cooped up in the metal bird for hours always made her muscles cramp up and it took her days to get over the jet lag. That's why she usually kept her vacations as close to her home as she could.

But she hadn't come here for a vacation this time.

While she waited for the tub to fill with warm water, she walked over to her discarded purse and grabbed it. Digging her hand into the belly of it, she managed to locate her old outdated cellphone and flip it open. She grimaced when the screen lit up.

Three missed calls. All from Dan.

She bit her lip, her eyes trained on his name while she warred with herself. Did she dare call him back and most likely start a fight in the process or should she wait until after she had had a good meal and a decent night's rest?

Sighing, she already knew the answer. Dan would be nearly frantic with worry if she waited to call him back so she might as well get it done while she had the energy. Punching a few numbers into the phone, she cradled it between her right ear and shoulder while she gingerly stepped into the warm water, sinking up to just below her shoulders, she gave a grateful sigh.

The sound of electronic ringing filled her ear while she settled back and closed her eyes. Not even two rings in, a frantic voice answered.

"Honey, is that you?"

Against her knowledge, at the sound of his voice, her lips lifted into a strained smile.

"Hey, Dan. I'm sorry I didn't call sooner."

"Are you alright? Did something happen? It's been two hours since your plane landed!" he cried, his tone losing his frantic edge and hedging toward a whine.

She sighed and struggled not to grimace. "I'm fine. I just lost track of time. I'm sorry I worried you."

There was a moment of silence before his voice came again, serious and more than a little concerned. "Are you really alright? You sound tired."

Her face smoothed out at the apology she could hear in his voice. In all the years she had known Dan Straight, she had come to terms with his rapid mood swings. He could be a social butterfly one minute and a total antisocial jerk the next. Since they had met in college, Lucy had thought she had known every part of his personality. Until they had started dating. Then she had come to know the clingy, needy side to him.

But it was moments like these, when he acted his age with a maturity that was fleeting, that Lucy knew how much she had come to care for him over the years.

Her eyes softened and her smile became genuine. "I'm alright. Just really tired."

"Are you sure? Because if you need me to, I can be down there in a few hours."

She chuckled and sank a little further into the water, affection blooming warmly in her chest. Sometimes…sometimes, Lucy could really see herself falling in love with this man. "Don't do that, Dan. You're in the middle of shooting a movie. You can't afford to leave the set and you know it. The director would have your head."

"Fuck him," he replied immediately causing her smile to widen though he couldn't see it. "If my angle needs me, he can go to hell!" She laughed a little more genuinely at the sincerity in his voice. There was a moment of comfortable silence on the line before he broke it again. "I love you," he whispered.

As usual, his declaration made her chest feel tight and she had to swallow a lump in her throat. It didn't matter how charming, or handsome or amazing Dan was, Lucy just couldn't make herself say the words back. She wasn't sure if it was her fear of being vulnerable or if it was because of a certain pink haired boy, but she knew that if she said those words that she could taste on the back of her tongue, they wouldn't be true. Not entirely. So instead she whispered, "I miss you." She was surprised at how true it was. She did miss him. She missed his bright brown eyes, his mischievous grin, his arms around her…

He chuckled deeply in her ear, sending a shiver down her spine and making her stomach twist into familiar knots. If there was one thing she could say about her and Dan's relationship, it was that it was passionate. Lucy might not be able to make herself love him, but she certainly didn't have any problem being attracted to him, that much was sure. "Do you now? How much?" he purred.

"Bunches," she breathed, grinning.

His voice turned a little more serious. "I miss you too, angle. Like crazy. When are you coming home?"

She sighed, her mood cooling like the bath water around her and she frowned a little. "I'm not sure. I don't know what my father got done before…before. But I'm meeting with his lawyer tomorrow morning so I'll have a better idea then."

On the other line, there was a shout and the sound of something crashing and Dan cursed. "I've got to go, angle. I'll call you tomorrow. Love you."

Lucy sighed when the line cut and closed her phone, setting it on top of the toilet next to her.

Oh how I wish I could love you Dan, she thought dismally, sliding in the water until her entire head was submerged, keeping her eyes tightly closed. It should be so easy and yet…and yet I can't forget him.

(AN: That's right. I used Dan Straight! I'm not entirely sure why I did, since he doesn't exist in the manga and is only in a few episodes, but I just loved how cute he was the whole time and that he could be serious when the situation called for it. Plus, he was a convenient male character that I didn't already have paired with someone else that I could manipulate. I will be keeping him a little OOC because I'm not going to have him be a flirt with every woman that catches his fancy. But he will have his time of drama, don't worry. I'm sorry this wasn't very long, but I'm trying to keep the flow natural without forcing too much. I hope you liked it, and thank you to those of you that reviewed. I adore you all!)