"Half a Moment"
by Lynn






Disclaimer: I've been working on this story on and off for the past few months. This is my first real stab at FanFic. Believe it or not, I actually *am* a comedic writer, despite the utter lack of humor in this piece. I know this is not the best story you'll ever read, but please be kind in your criticisms. I'm just a 15-year-old girl who doesn't take flames too well. Oh, and none of these characters (except for Candi, the Doctor, and the perky blonde) belong to me... just using 'em for a while. I'll put them back where I found them.

A snippet of the Goo Goo Dolls' "Hate This Place" is used, and I don't own that, either.

The title is a from song composed by the Almighty Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Send all comments to RabidCynic@aol.com, but anything that isn't positive will be deleted.


As she drove to work, Lisa felt as though her life was crashing down around her. The test results were in and they confirmed everything. Lisa wondered how long she could keep it a secret- she figured 3.4 months, assuming she didn't slip. To make matters worse, she had walked in on Dave and some brunette walking-wet-dream the night before. Lisa stuck around long enough to let Dave know what a complete jackass he was. *Now* how was she going to tell him about her situation?
Lisa was so involved in her problems that she almost ran a red light- no big deal in New York City, but it brought her back to reality.

Sighing loudly, she turned on her radio. A song she recognized but couldn't remember its name was playing:

I somehow doubt
We'll ever be the same
There's too much poison
And confusion on your face
Can you feel it?
I didn't mean it
Can I see you?
What are we doin'?
I think I love you
But I ain't sayin' nothin' you don't know-

Lisa switched to AM and, as Bill McNeal's voice came over her speakers, she suddenly realized that she was late for work. Turning the radio off, she tried to maneuver her way through the morning traffic.

**************

Dave trudged off the elevator, feeling lower than he ever remembered feeling. How the hell was he going to get himself out of this mess? Dave considered lying about the whole thing, but that would eventually catch up with him and make the situation even worse. Besides, lying wasn't his style. He knew Lisa wouldn't believe him and he wasn't even sure that he believed the entire thing himself. Why would Candi, a tall, leggy brunette run back to someone like him- a funny little man with a monkey head? Dave was so drunk at the time, that he didn't even remember all the details. He knew how it began: Candi had shown up at his door in tears and a black leather catsuit around 6:30. Her boyfriend had just dumped her and she couldn't take it. Candi had gotten plastered at a local pub and had a taxi driver bring her to Dave's apartment. Dave wanted to comfort her- after all, they *had* managed to remain on friendly terms after they ended their relationship- but he was getting ready to go out with Lisa at 8. Candi was a sloppy drunk and didn't take 'no' for an answer. She had gotten him drunk- he wasn't sure how- and Dave guiltily remembered being a little more than willing to comply.

Dave wasn't sure of the smaller details, but he did know that his doorbell rang around 8:30. Dave recalled how he vaguely remembered that he was late for his date with Lisa. He knew that Lisa was at his door and she had a key to his apartment. The door opened and she had called his name several times, sounding almost frantic. Dave *knew* he was going to be in deep shit. The last thing he remembered was the look on Lisa's face and her screaming accusations. Dave had tried to push Candi away, but he couldn't move his arms- was he handcuffed to his own bed?- and he couldn't get his mouth to work.

"Dave? Earth to Dave. Come in, Dave." He snapped back to reality as Beth waved a mug of coffee in front of his face.
"Oh, hi Beth. Thanks." Dave grabbed the mug and went into his office, slamming the door behind him. Putting his coffee down on his desk, he sprawled out on the old green couch. Closing his eyes, he suddenly remembered that it was supposed to be his and Lisa's 18-month anniversary in five days. Groaning, he turned on his stomach and tried to ignore the pounding in his head. Dave wasn't sure if it was the hangover or his conscience.

**************

Lisa parked her car and turned off the ignition. She placed her forehead on the steering wheel and shut her eyes. She had no idea how she would make it through the day without crying or slitting her wrists. Sighing, she got out of her car, locked it and began the too-short walk to the WNYX office.

When the automatic doors opened at the 14th floor, Lisa had the fleeting idea of staying on the elevator and going home to drown her problems in a bottle of coconut-flavored vodka. She would have, too, if it hadn't been for Bill waiting right outside the elevator. He grabbed her by the arm and demanded: "Where the hell have you been? I've been running everything in that booth single-handedly and I couldn't even do my 'McNeal Perspective'- a real doozy, too-"

"Bill, as much as I'd *love* to hear you gripe about how the headphones are uncomfortable and useless, the latest lawsuit that's been slapped on you for talking about genitalia over the air, or some irrelevant story from your dysfunctional childhood, I have my own *real* problems!" Lisa pulled her arm from Bill's grip and started to walk to the booth.
"Woah, who lit the fuse on *your* tampon?" Bill asked.
"Lisa turned around and glared at Bill. "Ever been bitch slapped?"
Bill grinned slyly. "Will you do it in the nude?"
"Shut the hell up." She stormed past the rest of the staff and into the booth.
Bill poured himself a cup of coffee as Beth walked over to him. "What did you say to Lisa?" she demanded.
"I just inquired about her whereabouts and if she would get naked and she *practically* jumped down my throat!" Bill sipped his coffee.
"Bill, you can be a little nicer to Lisa. Dave's acting kinda strange, too. I think something happened with them last night."
Putting his coffee between both of his hands, Bill grinned again. "Delicious... I'll find out all of the juicy tidbits between my 12:01 weather update and 12:04 traffic update." He started towards the booth.
Beth followed him and said, "I don't think you should-"
Bill turned around and made a motion for Beth to stop talking. "Beth, this is why I'm a famous radio personality and you're making practically nothing. I'm willing to overstep my boundaries, even if it means getting bitch slapped." With that, he entered the booth.

**************

Dave was on his back, staring at the ceiling of his office and thinking about how he had gotten himself into this unenviable situation. He wanted to go into hiding for the next ten years and forget everything that had happened in the last 24 hours. Dave thought about calling his mom, but she'd just tell him to come home. His mother had never hidden her disapproval of his move to New York. Dave wondered what his life would be like if he had stayed in Wisconsin. He briefly considered that while the idea of an easier life was appealing, he knew that all the good things in this new life outweighed all the problems. As disastrous as his life seemed at the moment, Dave knew he could never give up any of it. And no matter how pissed Lisa was, he knew that it would all blow over with time. He even had a little velvet box tucked away in the back of his desk. He really, truly loved Lisa.

Dave sat up suddenly. He knew why he was having such a hard time with this whole dilemma. He screwed up pretty badly, but there was more to it than that. Dave hardly ever told Lisa how he felt. Sure, the make-out sessions were great and the sex was even better, but they hardly ever used the word 'love.' Dave vowed that by the end of the day he was going to explain the past night's events and let Lisa know how much she meant to him.

**************

"WNYX News Time, 4:47. More after this." Bill switched over to a commercial and removed his headphones. "Okay, Lisa, what troubles you?"
Lisa looked at Bill. "I didn't tell you the other 127 times you asked, so what makes you think I'll tell you now?"
"Oh, come on, Lisa. You can trust ol' Billy." He shot Lisa an innocent look.
"I said no, Bill. This doesn't concern you."
"Oh, but I think it does, little lady. There's only one thing that can get you this bitchy and that's a problem with you and Dave. And since he happens to be the boss, if he's more focused on his personal affairs than he is on his job, it could affect the entire station. And if something happens to the station, then I-"
"Don't you know when to quit?" Lisa raised her voice, as she was becoming fed up with Bill. "Listen, Bill McNeal, there's something I want to say to you-"
"Lisa, can it wait?" Bill asked, starting to look uncomfortable.
"I've waited long enough, you pompous jacka-"
"Lisa!"
"Don't interrupt me!" Lisa was almost yelling now. She didn't care. She needed to vent. "I am so *sick* of your arrogance! You think you can manipulate your way into getting whatever you want *just because* you think you're some kind of celebrity. Well, let me tell you, you egocentric bastar-"
"Lisa, we've been on the air for 8 seconds!" Bill was almost pleading with Lisa.
"Oh." Lisa turned red and looked out the sound-proofing window. She saw that a small crowd of WNYX employees had gathered to watch what was taking place inside the booth.
"I apologize to my listeners who were waiting for the traffic update..." Bill began. Lisa, on the verge of breaking down completely, ran out of the booth and into the Ladies' Room with Beth close behind.

**************

Dave had gotten up from the couch to find the small black box he had hidden in his desk. He'd been toying with it for the past forty-five minutes, trying to decide when the right time would be. Dave was brought back to reality as he heard Lisa screaming over the air. He looked horrified as he listened to what was transpiring on the radio. He sighed and banged his head on his desk. Dave knew this was entirely his fault. He should have talked to Lisa when she first came in this morning.

His thoughts were interrupted when Joe barged into his office.

"So nice of you knock, Joe."
"Dude, we're way beyond being polite." Joe stood right against Dave's desk. "As much as angry chicks turn me on and as much as Bill can piss me off sometimes, he did not deserve any of that." Joe paused and pointed to the velvet box that Dave held. "You're not gonna propose to Bill, are you?"
"No, Joe."
Joe raised an eyebrow. "Whatever, Dude," he said as he walked out.

Not too long after Joe left, there was a soft, rapid tapping on the office door. "Come in, Matthew," Dave said, silently dreading having to listen to someone else complain.

"David? I wanna talk to you," Matthew said, as he closed to door behind him.
"What is it, Matthew?" Dave asked, wearily.
"Um, I just wanted to tell you that I will not stand for anyone speaking to Bill the way Lisa did."
Dave looked at Matthew, waiting for him to add more.
After a brief silence, Dave asked, "Is that all, Matthew?"
Matthew thought for a moment. "Yep. That's all I've got."

As Matthew closed the door, Dave threw the small velvet box against the wall. "Damnit," he growled and put his forehead on his desk. He had a few moments of blessed silence before Bill came into Dave's office and slumped into the green couch.

"Dave, what happened? I don't appreciate Lisa taking out her anger at you on me. It makes me feel... violated. And not in a good way, either."
Dave sighed. "Look, Bill, I really don't think-"
Bill interrupted him. "I have a right to know. This is affecting the station and my job. And I can't work with the impending fear of having Lisa berate me while New York listens on."
Dave looked at Bill. "You really want to know what happened?"
"Haven't I been clear on that?" Bill asked incredulously.
Dave sighed. "I screwed up. Or got screwed. However you wanna look at it-"
"You cold-hearted bastard. You're cheating on Lisa?"
"No!" Dave stood up. "A woman forced herself on me and I-" Dave paused suddenly, realizing that he was opening up to a man he didn't entirely trust.
Bill looked shocked. "Say no more." He let out a low whistle as he went to Dave's door. He said, shaking his head, "Not good my friend," he stood in the doorway. "Not good at all." Bill left and closed the door behind him.

**************

"Lisa, it's not the end of the world!" Beth felt as though she was pleading with the door. Lisa hadn't said anything since she locked herself in the bathroom stall.
"C'mon, Lisa. It's not like we have a lot of listeners, anyway. I'm sure hardly anyone heard you yell at Bill for something he didn't even do."

Slowly, the stall door opened. Lisa came out and walked over to the sink. Trying not to notice Lisa's puffy red eyes, Beth asked, "Are you okay?"

"No," was Lisa's flat reply.
"Are you gonna tell me what happened?"
Lisa turned away from the mirror and started at Beth. "No."
"Okay, I tried," Beth held up her hands in a motion of defeat and exited the bathroom. As she left, Bill, Joe and Matthew came over to her.
"She say anything?" Joe asked.
"No, it was like I was talking to myself the entire time."
"Well, I finally got the story from Dave..." Bill started. He wanted to make sure that he had his co-workers' full attention before he said anything more. Bill motioned for the other three to get a little closer and, in a conspiratorial whisper, he continued, "Dave did it with another woman. Lisa found out and that's why she went all psycho."

Joe and Beth looked utterly shocked. Matthew was a little confused: "Wait a minute. He did *what* with a woman?"
Joe put a hand on Matthew's shoulder. "Dude, I'll explain it to ya later."

**************

"Dave, what the hell just happened?" Mr. James sat on the green couch.
Dave rubbed his eyes. "Sir, I'm not even sure myse-"
"Like hell you aren't sure. What did I tell you about dipping your pen in the company's ink? I knew something like this was gonna happen."
"Yes, Sir, I know-"
"Then why did Lisa go totally bitchcakes on the air?"

Mr. James looked at Dave, waiting for an answer.

"I actually agree with a lot of what she said," Dave responded.
"Oh, sure, I do too, Dave. But does half of New York need to know that Bill McNeal is a pompous, egocentric bastard? I mean, they *love* the guy."
"Sir, I don't think half of New York even heard it."
"Dave, that's not the point. WNYX is here to serve four purposes: to report the news, to report the weather, the report the traffic, and to bring more money to Jimmy James Incorporated. Not one of those purposes is for Lisa Miller to publicly chew out Bill."
"I know, Sir, but-"
Mr. James got up from the couch and said, "I expect you to take care of this mess."
"Yes, Sir," Dave answered despondently.
"Okay, good. Keep up the good work, Son." Jimmy patted Dave on the back and left.

**************

All the rest of the staff had gone home hours ago. Lisa couldn't remember the last time she'd stayed at the office after seven-o'-clock. Lisa supposed she should go home, but she didn't feel like going back to her empty, lonely apartment. She was so sick of living alone. Lisa was planning to ask Dave about living together on their anniversary. God, she loved him so much. She knew the entire staff thought that their relationship was purely physical, but she cared about Dave more deeply than any of the other guys she'd been with. Lisa was *sure* he felt the same way about her- at least, she had thought so up until the previous night. She didn't know what was going on anymore. Now that she thought about it, she didn't remember seeing Dave leave the office. Lisa was *sure* he'd say something today, especially after the tantrum she had earlier.

Lisa was surprised to find a tear running down her cheek. Embarrassed, she quickly wiped it away. She hadn't cried for ages- and *never* over a guy! "What did I do wrong?" she wondered out loud. Lisa was suddenly reminded of what her doctor had told her a few days ago. Sighing, she recalled how she had set up a date with Dave just to tell him what had happened. He'd find out sooner or later and Lisa figured he should be the first one to know- after all, it would affect Dave the most.

'No use hanging around here anymore,' she thought. Lisa decided that maybe her apartment was a better place to be than the dark and almost-deserted station. As she walked slowly to the elevator, she paused. Lisa had a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach. Blaming it on nerves, she pushed the button and waited for the elevator.

**************

Dave looked up at the clock. 7:15! 'How'd *that* happen?' he asked himself. "Since when do I sleep in the office?" he muttered. Dave glanced out his window just in time to see Lisa get on the elevator. He wanted to talk to her. Grabbing his coat and picking up the small velvet box from the floor, Dave ran out of his office as the elevator doors closed. He was too late to catch the elevator, so he used the stairs instead.

He had reached the bottom level and stood in front of the elevator door. "Damnit!" he said. None of the floor lights were lit up, so he guessed that Lisa had already left the building. Dave turned around to ask the night guard when Lisa left, but the guard wasn't there. "Well *that's* odd," he said to himself. Sighing, he admitted defeat.

When Dave got outside the Criterion Building, he was greeted by an accident. 'Reckless driving again,' he thought. By the time he had located his car and got it out of the underground garage, the ambulance had just arrived. Dave was pissed when he realized that he would have to pass the scene to get home. All these years in New York still hadn't hardened him- accidents still made him queasy. As he drove by, a sudden morbid curiosity came over him. Dave looked out his window and saw that the victim was alive. Something made him double take and Dave swore his heart stopped.
"Oh, God, please, no..." he said aloud. He couldn't make out the bruised face, but Dave would know that long, dark-brown hair anywhere.

Dave felt as though time stopped. He pulled over so the people behind him could pass. He was going to follow that ambulance to the hospital.

**************

Half an hour later, Dave was sitting in the parking lot of the St. Mary Hospital and feeling completely numb. He could not help playing the "What If?" Game:

What if he had told Lisa how he felt?
What if he hadn't let Candi have her way with him?
What if he hadn't fallen asleep in his office?
What if he had talked to Lisa after she yelled at Bill?
What if...

He couldn't keep torturing himself like this. He had to go inside. Stalling is what caused all this in the first place. Firmly grasping the velvet box in his coat pocket, he left his car and walked into the hospital.

**************

"I'm sorry, Mr. Nelson, but Lisa Miller is still in surgery," the perky blonde nurse with the heavy Manhattan accent told him.
"When will she be out?" Dave asked.
"Oh, I dunno... maybe an hour? Two hours tops. Just sit down in the waiting area. Read a magazine or somethin'." The blonde snapped her gum.

Dave sat down and wondered whether he should let the rest of the staff know about what happened. 'Naaaah...' he thought. Dave grinned as he imagined how everyone would act in a hospital setting. He knew Joe would hit on every attractive woman he saw. That, or he'd wreak havoc in an attempt to make the hospital technology 'better.' And Matthew would be a walking disaster. Dave winced as he imagined Matthew tripping and breaking something important. Bill wasn't too happy with Lisa, but he'd try to catch a glimpse of her in the too-revealing hospital gown. Dave knew Beth would be an absolute basket case. That, or she'd talk endlessly and drive everyone nuts. He wondered if hospitals had dress codes. Dave knew that Mr. James avoided hospitals at all costs since his heart attack. Yeah, he'd be better off by himself. They'd all find out tomorrow...

**************

"Mr. Nelson?"

Dave awoke to someone tapping him on the shoulder with a pencil. Yawning, he looked up and saw a doctor. Dave stood up and blinked several times in an attempt to clear his vision. He couldn't read what the doctor's name was. The doctor figured this out and extended his hand.

"Hi, I'm Dr. Bryson- Lisa's doctor."
Dave offered his hand to the doctor in return. "Hi, how are ya?"
"Ms. Miller is out of surgery if you want to see her. She'll be fine- just a broken leg and several bruises. However, we *did* lose the baby during the oper-"
"What? What baby?" Dave was taken aback.
Dr. Bryson looked embarrassed. "I was, uh, assuming that you were the father," he said.
Dave was having a hard time absorbing this new information. "I am- at least, I'm *sure* I am... er, I suppose *was*- the father, but Lisa never said anything..." he trailed off, feeling very confused.
"Ms. Miller was only about nine weeks along- she just found out a few days ago herself."
This still had Dave baffled. He'd have to ask her about this later. "Does, uh, does Lisa know that the.. um... the baby..." he felt uncomfortable finishing the question.
"No, she doesn't know yet."
"Can I- can I tell her?" Dave asked.
"I think it might be better that way," Dr. Bryson said. "I'll show you where her room is."

**************

Dave paused in front of Lisa's room, not sure what to do. He knew what he wanted to say, but he wasn't sure how to go about saying it. Taking a deep breath he opened the door. He couldn't tell if Lisa was sleeping or unconscious. For some reason, this scared Dave a little. He pulled a chair next to Lisa's bed and took her hand in both of his and almost started to cry.

Swallowing hard, he said, "Oh my God, Lisa. I am so sorry. I'm sorry for screwing up. I'm sorry I let you down. You trusted me... and I screwed up." He sniffed. "I... I want to tell you something. I never said it enough before, and I'm sorry. God, Lisa, I love you so much. You mean everything to me. I'm not sure if I ever let you know that. God, please forgive me for... everything."

Dave was openly crying now. He continued, "I wanted... I have something I've been meaning to give to you for a while. I wanted to give it to you on our anniversary, but I'm not waiting anymore."

He took the little black velvet box from his pocket and opened it. He laughed nervously. "This isn't how I imagined it at all. I wanted to give it to you over dinner." Dave sniffed again and removed the diamond ring and placed it on her left ring finger. He took her hand again. "Lisa Miller, I love you more than I've ever loved anyone before. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I know you can't answer right now, but I can wait." He kissed her hand and got up to leave.

"Dave?"

He looked over and saw the familiar twinkle in her eyes. Lisa looked down at the ring. Very slowly she removed it and held it out to him. "I can't take this," she said.

She watched as Dave tried to unsuccessfully hide his disappointment. Lisa couldn't help grinning. "Give it to me on our anniversary. I'll act surprised."

Dave smiled as well. He took the ring and put it back in the small box.

"What would we ever tell the children? You proposed to me and I wasn't even awake to answer?"

Dave suddenly remembered about the baby. He looked up, and saw that she was grinning. When Lisa saw the look on his face, her smile vanished.

"Oh my God, what happened?"

He decided that sitting down might not be a bad idea. Dave pulled the chair closer to Lisa and thought about how he would go about telling her. He took both of her hands in both of his and took a deep breath.

"Uh, Lisa... the, um, the doctor told me about the baby..." he started.
"Dave, I'm sorry I didn't tell you! I wanted it to be a surprise," Lisa said.
"Oh, it's not that- aw, hell, I wouldn't have minded that kind of surprise. But, uh... during surgery the doctor... um, he- he lost the baby."

He tightened his grip on Lisa's hands as she turned white.

"Ohmigod?" she whispered.
"Lisa, I am so sorry," Dave said.
Lisa shook her head. "It's okay. It's not your fault." She managed a small smile. "We can always try again, right?"

Dave nodded. He wasn't sure what he should say.

The blonde nurse popped her head in the room. "Sorry to disturb you two, but visiting hours are almost over." She closed the door.

"I better go then," Dave got up to leave.
"They're letting me out tomorrow," Lisa said, looking up at him.
"Great, call me when they do and I'll get you."

Dave opened the door to leave.

"Dave?" Lisa said timidly.
"Yeah?" he turned around.
"I love you, too."

Dave grinned and left the room, feeling as though his life was finally going right.


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