|Red Velvet: A Paily Story
Author: rcampdel PM
Its been 7 years since Paige left Rosewood. So many things in her life have changed and now fate has brought her back. Emily has never left. Friends have moved on and so has her family. All she has are the broken pieces of her life and the chance to really live again. This is an AU story that follows Paige, Emily and the lives of the people their love touches. Join the circus!Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Family - Emily F. & Paige M. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 327,604 - Reviews: 191 - Favs: 61 - Follows: 100 - Updated: 05-12-13 - Published: 10-29-12 - id: 8655447
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here it is...The Red Velvet Debut. Thank you to everyone that followed Blue Lace so closely and let me know how much you loved it and how it touched you. This is special for all of you that enjoyed the chapter 12 special dream sequence because now I'm taking that story back to the beginning and i hope it grows in the same amazing way that Blue Lace did. Let me know what you think. I've written this literally come hell or high water. (lainierb, thank you for being so patient with me and being the best member of our 2 woman gang!) I'm not letting the hurricane outside my window slow me down. I love this story and what it will hopefully become. I hope you love it too. A new place, A new time, a new dynamic and a timeless love story.
Lyric Mention for prologue: Hear Me-Kelly Clarkson
It's so easy to get used to the ground moving beneath your feet when it's all you've known. There comes a time when you no longer stumble at the stop. When you adjust to the stillness without second thought. It's easy, well-practiced and you never stop to think about it being anything but normal.
Hold on tight to the bars of a moving carousel and lean over the edge. Watch the movement of the ground below and close your eyes. Now let go. There's a moment that catches your breath and brings a calm through your veins, but it passes too quickly and before you know it you falter and fall when the stillness of the ground absorbs the movement of your body through the air. Enough practice and your body quickly learns how to step lightly into the jump and land soundly on your feet.
But what happens when your careful practice isn't enough to keep you from falling to your knees? And what if you find something that makes you realize that you've never really been moving at all? That the ground has never been spinning beneath your feet? Not until now. Not until her.
"How far out are we?" She asked. The tall man stopped as he walked past.
"About 30 minutes." He replied with a warm smile.
She nodded, kicking her boots off of the table in the commons car and standing to open the side window so she could peer out. Looking towards the front of the train she could see the rolling green hills of Pennsylvania. Trees hugged tightly to the tracks letting stray bits of sunlight slip through. The air was fresh and warm, blowing strands of her long auburn hair from her face. She turned to look towards the back of the train out of habit, rolling her eyes and sighing at large piece of fabric flowing from another window further down. Shaking her head in disbelief she turned back to the tall man. And that wasn't just a way of being descriptive because in truth he was tall, and he was also the stilt man, but his name was Peter.
"Hey can you have Aiden get the clowns under control? They're using Mary's bra as a kite again."
He smiled and nodded as he walked towards the back door of the car. Mary was one of the burlesque women who...well, let's just say the bra was made from a large amount of fabric.
"Paige, you do know she's usually the one holding the string right?" A mischievous grin on his lips. She crinkled her brow in confusion.
"Then what is she wearing?" She called after him.
His smile widened as he disappeared through the door.
"Oh, ew!" She shouted, shaking her head.
The people on this train have some serious issues sometimes but that's what made them such a great family. Family was a loose term and if by using it you mean drunk relatives dancing naked at a reunion...then they were the best family ever. And yes, there have been times like that. Almost all of them had been with her for the last seven years, some not so long but even with their quirks she wouldn't trade them for anything, or the views that came with always moving. She looked out the window again at the small town appearing in the distance. When she looked to the back of the train she noticed that the bra had been pulled in and suddenly she second guessed her love for the view. Instead she was wishing that the bra still hung from the window. But no, Mary now hung her chest out the window. Her first thought was to be impressed that she managed to fit that much out in the first place due to the small size of the opening and the 'not so small' size of her...assets. That thought passed quickly and had her throwing the window shut and stumbling back into the couch.
"Oh God!" On the list of things you can't un-see...check one!
The train whistled, clearing the image quickly from her mind. She pushed her body into movement through the front door of the commons car and into a long narrow hallway. They always whistled 15 minutes out. By now Mary's breasts should be tucked safely back into her bra. God, let's all take a moment to pray for that, please and thank you...Okay continue.
The small corridor was dark and quiet, with a deep red carpet and rich wood walls that showcased tiny carvings throughout the molding. She opened a door half way down the hall, closing it behind her and walkied to the small closet beside her bed. Reluctantly she stripped herself of her favorite t-shirt and replaced it with a dark emerald-green thermal, bunching the long sleeves up her forearms. Her eyes grazed across the red velvet jacket the hung before her as she reached above her head to the shelf and retrieved her leather belt. She took just a moment to enjoy the intricate design carved into it. Brown with tiny swirls of black forming vines and Victorian fleur-de-lis to the point where it resembled French lace. She choked back the tightening in her chest and slipped it quickly through the loops of her black jeans, then turned to face her room, letting her back lean into the closet door as anxiety began to make itself known. This always happened before stops. Nothing worrisome, just another stop with excited people. An entirely new set of possibilities. And that was the first lie she had told herself today.
She walked to the vanity in the corner to grab a hair tie, pulling her long curls into a sloppy pony-tail, taking a moment to study herself in the mirror and forcing a deep breath. She was never this unsettled, in fact she was the epitome of calm. Another lie that would be the truth on any other day. She didn't like her time spent on solid ground.
Houses began zipping by the window as the whistle sounded and the train locked onto the first set of brakes. She bent down to adjust the zipper on her calf-high leather boots then forced herself from her room. The hall was empty, not usual given the circumstances, because everyone else was further back on the train getting things ready. She kicked the step lock near a side hatch and let it fly open. The train was still slowing, maintaining a speed of about 40 miles an hour. The driver waiting until they got closer to their stopping point to throw on the last breaks. She grabbed tightly to the handle by the door, leaning carefully out over the edge, watching the ground fly past and calculating the speed carefully. Taking into account the lack of real wind, judging by the stillness of the trees, and the loose gravel that bordered the track. She studied the drop.
The train lurched as the last breaks were applied. She counted in her head, focusing on the ground as it slowed. Then she let go, feeling the movement of screeching metal behind her and enjoying the moment when her breath caught. She planted her feet soundly on the ground, practiced. Turning around slowly the wind from the train kicked her hair around her face as the cars continued to push down the tracks, ripping the oxygen from her chest and jolting her nerves. She turned her back from the train as it continued so slow, letting her eyes fall on her surroundings.
The town was small and quaint, looking much like a picturesque version of the perfect American dream. White picket fences and Victorian street lamps. The kind of town straight off the front of a postcard. Just another cluster of pretty houses, simple and perfect and lacking any type of mystery or surprise. The name painted on the vintage sign said it all. White letters surrounded by pink flowers and green ivy. The people here would be friendly and probably overly hung up on their little mom and pop shops. Housewives set pies to cool on their kitchen windows and kids skipped to school every morning. She could assume these things just by looking at it, but she knew these things to be a lie because she had been here before. Seven years ago Rosewood had been her home, and it held nothing but bad memories.
The sun beat down on her shoulder as she walked down the road, kicking her boot into the ground as it turned from pavement to dirt and opened up to the Rosewood stables. She had been working here almost everyday for the last three years. Staying even after her parents had moved to Texas for retirement. Nothing about her mom's rants on culture and cowboys had fanned her interest in leaving Rosewood. Though she should have picked her choice in words a little more carefully on that one because cowboys held nothing for her. Nothing about the heat was alluring either. How could heat be tempting when she would miss the cool breeze blowing through the trees every night. And the snow that would cover the ground at Christmas. She told herself that's why she had stayed but the truth was, she just hadn't been given the right reasons to leave. Without the right reason her drive and desire to change her life was nonexistent. Even though she felt stuck in the moment of never moving forward, it was easier than facing something new. And this town had too tight of a hold on her to allow her to leave so easily.
She stopped short a few feet from the stable door, listening to the conversation she was hearing inside. Her throat tightened as she forced her body to move, throwing open the door and letting it crash into the siding. She came to a stop in front of two men holding clip boards and eyeing her cautiously.
One man, Brian, she knew because she had worked with him everyday for the last three years as his assistant manager. The other man she knew only from the picture hanging on the wall of the country club.
"Emily..." Brian said, slightly stunned by her arrival. She stared at them skeptically, eyeing the horse stall that they stood in front of.
"What's going on?" She asked, inching forward. Brian stepped towards her and wrapped and arm around her shoulder, leading her back outside. She threw a glance at the other man over her shoulder but he was already looking back to his clipboard. Brian spoke once they were back outside.
"Listen, Emily...he has to go. His owners haven't paid the last months rent on his stall and we can't get ahold of them or keep boarding him."
"I can pay for his stall and whatever they owe on him." She said instantly.
"How? It would take three of your paychecks to make up for last month and even more to keep him here any longer because you'll need vet checks and certification papers in your name...that's not free." He said, staring at her sadly.
What he said was true. She could easily cover what was owed but there was no chance of keeping him here longer. Her paycheck was fine on its own because she was doing something that made her happy. The only thing that made her happy. But it wasn't a lot. The only thing that made it easy for her to work here was the fact that her parents let her stay at the house. It was paid off and too valuable to sell. Her mom had tried that a few times but she had complained enough to get her to change her mind.
"What's gonna happen to him?" She asked, casting her eyes to the ground. He sighed, looking down at his clipboard.
"It looks like the auction. We have to try to make up for the money we've lost keeping him here and..."
"When?" She asked cutting him off before the tightening in her throat made it impossible for her to breathe let alone speak.
"Monday." He said surely.
"Two days?!" She snapped, disbelief slapping every once of resolve from her body. He watched her carefully as she turned away, trying to calm herself. After a few moments she heard him move away, and the stable door squeak shut leaving her alone to her panic.
She crouched down, resting her elbows on her knees and letting her head fall into her hands. This couldn't be happening. So it was just one horse, and there would always be others, but its the only one she had cared for for the last three years straight and the only glimmer of happiness that she had been able to find here. If she didn't have this happiness...if it was ripped from her again...then what would she have holding her here. She'd only have the memories of things she didn't want to remember.
She stood after a few moments, when her breathing had slowed, straightening herself and allowing the blood to flow painfully back into her legs. Turning her back from the stable, she began retracing her steps down the road. They'd have to manage without her today, because suddenly she didn't feel up to saying goodbye to the last shred of happiness that held her solidly to the ground.
Her street was quiet. No bustle of kids riding their bikes and no hum from passing cars. The silence surrounding the town was something she had long since grown used to. She stepped onto the large wooden porch of the grey house, pulling her keys from her pocket and unlocking the door. Remembering a time when everyone used to sleep with their doors unlocked and their windows open. Most people had managed to do that again, just not her. Old habits die hard.
She had also gotten used to the silence in the house every time she stepped inside. Being alone used to make her feel uneasy and scared but not anymore. She had her own routine and her own space. What could be better than that? It was amazing to be on her own with nobody to answer to.
She climbed the stairs to her bedroom, amazed by how easily she could lie to herself and how easily she could make herself believe those lies, if only for a moment. Not much had changed here since high school at all. The same cheery yellow walls and pillow covered window bench. The same cluster of photos across her dresser showcasing all the people she loved most. Friends that had moved away and two girls that had been murdered. She should probably put these pictures away but that would mean change and well, change doesn't come easy.
Dropping to the bed she buried her face in her blanket, lavender with white flowers. She lay in silence, part of her mind searching for something that the fabric should contain, but coming up empty. Shallow breaths left her lungs as her body relaxed, numbing the uncertainty in her mind.
Her phone rang, waking her from a dreamless sleep. The walls were now a darker shade of yellow as the sun sunk lower in the sky. She reached into her back pocket, pulling her cell phone out and watching the name flash across the screen as her blurry eyes tried to focus.
"Hey Han." She said, scooting up in bed.
"Em! Get your ass ready cuz we're going out tonight." Hanna demanded. She glanced at the clock by the bed.
"Hanna, there's no way I'm driving into Philly tonight during rush hour. I have to work tomorrow and the last time I came there you kept me up until five in the morning because your apartment walls are thin."
"Caleb is out of town...and you're not coming here. I'll pick you up in an hour."
The phone line went dead. Hanna had the habit of laying something bad on you and then hanging up before you could protest. That's how many of her bad ideas had started, and that's exactly what this was. Bad.
"Perfect!" She shouted, wiping the sweat from her forehead as she stood before the deep red tent. She pulled the gloves from her hands and tucked them in her back pocket and after five hours of wearing them, it has a huge relief. The workers dropped their mallets to the ground, taking a break from hammering at the stakes. Footsteps approached from behind her. She tensed a bit, turning to meet the burly man jogging towards her.
"Hey you!" He said, his voice sounding more like a cat call than a greeting.
"I have a name." She said impatiently, rolling her eyes when he just stared at her blankly in his 'so what' manner. "What's up, Jack?" She added, her voice reserved because she hardly found that his issues were important. That was something she had learned over the last three months. He hadn't been with the crew nearly as long as the others and he was often whinny and extremely needy. Also a total asshole and that's if she was being polite.
"We done here? The guys found a good bar down the street and I could use a few drinks and some local women." He grinned.
Her first thought was to scoff at that comment and if he wasn't the only person willing to work with the tigers she would have tossed him from the train well...three months ago. But all things considered, a drink sounded like a great idea and the local women... well, she already knew the type that lived here.
"Yeah everyones finishing up so you guys go ahead." Anything to get the smell of his dirty body, and attitude, away from her as fast as possible. Even the annoyance in her voice wasn't enough to keep him from smirking and giving her a once over before he turned away.
"Unbelievable." She mumbled, pulling her gloves from her pocket and putting them back on her hands.
She walked through the tent to the center, standing beneath the big top and watching as workers continued to pull up streams of fabric to the ceiling. Emeralds and gold, deep hues of blue and purple. It was hard to get used to the beauty and magic of it all. Even after so many years of being beneath this tent the sparkling lights still amazed her.
"Are you going out too?" Peter asked, appearing at her side. She shook her head, shoving her hands into her pockets.
"I don't think so." Hoping a simple answer would be enough to drop the idea from his mind. Of course it couldn't be that easy. It never was.
"You never go out when we stop, Paige. We have the first shows tomorrow then right back on the train for another few days." He said. She kicked her boot into the ground, trying to politely ignore him so he would just stop already. "Your parents wouldn't want you..." She sighed softly, cutting him off with her words almost a breath.
"Yeah, I know they wouldn't but, I know enough about this town to hate it." She said. Peter looked at her sadly.
"Do you ever think about just leaving all of this?" He gestured to their surroundings. "There's so much more out there than this 'family run' business and this crappy town." Her patience was now growing thin. She hated being told what she already knew. She hated that everyone around her could see it so clearly and that they never stopped pointing it out.
"Yea, I have thought about it...more than once actually" She mumbled. "But...I love all of this and you guys are my only family, so.."
He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and gave her a light squeeze. It was awkward because of his height, the top of her head barely reaching his chin.
"So, why don't you go out there and try to find something good about this place so you can put it to rest." He said.
"With my folks, right?" She quipped, turning her head up to look at him. He frowned in defeat.
"Yeah..." He whispered. "with them." He kissed the top of her head and released her as he turned away. His footsteps fading into the empty space behind her.
She stood for a long time, just watching the bleachers rise and the center ring snap in place around her. Suddenly all she craved was the movement of the ground beneath her feet again, because now the solid ground...didn't feel so solid. It was hard for her to be honest with herself sometimes but she tried. So let's be honest. This was her life. Quite literally a circus. It was more than a hundred years old and had been passed down from father to son. Her uncle had inherited it first and turned it down which passed it to her dad and since she was an only child, the first daughter in several generations, it was now hers. The business had come into their lives at the same time Rosewood began tearing her apart. It provided the perfect escape from this town, and the perfect way to start over. But no matter much distance the tracks put between her and Rosewood...there would always be something calling her back.
She caved after a few minutes, pulling the gloves from her hands again and walking from the tent. Smaller tents had already sprouted up around the grounds displaying signs for food and games. She glanced up at the big top again, her eyes flickering over the 'McCullers Circus' banner that hung across the opening, then she turned to look at Rosewood across the small field. She sighed heavily. Yeah, a drink sounded good. Something strong and preferably in the confines of her sleeping car on the train. Just a few shots while she carefully re-evaluated her life. Typical night. Epitome of calm.
"I am not wearing those." She laughed. Hanna frowned, dropping the shoes with the four-inch heels to the floor in defeat.
"Em, why are you the only friend I have that protests fashion?"
"Because your idea of fashion is also the definition of torture." She laughed, pulling a pair of boots up over her skinny jeans.
"Suit yourself." Hanna shrugged, plopping down on the edge of the bed with a sigh.
"So how is everyone else?" She asked, walking to her closet and putting a black vest on over her tank top.
"You think I hear from them more than you do? Spencer is in Chicago now for some law intervention..."
"convention?" She corrected
"Yea whatever, so she's there and Aria is somewhere in Europe doing something artsy." She waved her hand dismissively.
She had to love Hanna for her comedic relief. No matter how upset she was or how angry, Hanna could always make her laugh. It was sad that they rarely saw Spencer or Aria, or even heard from them aside from a few phone calls a year. Just one more thing that wasn't holding her to Rosewood. They had left for college after high school, and Hanna had gotten an intern position for a fashion magazine in Philly which she now basically managed. That made her the closest to home and it was easy for them to get together several times a month. She tried to remember what happened to her future. To pinpoint the moment when it had all gone wrong but there were too many moments to count and all of them had played a part in breaking her completely. How much hurt could one person live through before they just became numb to the feeling of pain? Numb to the emptiness until eventually all they could do was walk through life in a mindless routine. That was her life exactly.
An hour and 4 outfit changes later (on Hanna's part.) she threw the passenger door open and stepped out, standing in front of the small bar on the corner, just a few spaces down from The Brew. They always came here when Hanna was in town. It was a small hole in the wall that offered a club like atmosphere and the best appletinis that Hanna preferred. That sugary concoction wasn't quick enough to drown her own life in. A few straight shots and she'd be passed out in the car waking up to the sunlight the next morning. Another reason why this was the best bar in town? Coffee and fatty pastries were only a few feet away.
A bright mixture of ads and flyers rustled in the breeze on the bulletin board near the door. The sky was darkening and a steady beat was already seeping through the brick walls. Hanna locked her arm around her waist and dragged her towards the door, stopping near the bulletin board.
"Oh my God!" She said, ripping a flyer from the wall. Brightly colored in a vintage style. She studied the picture on the front excitedly then handed it to Emily. "I love the circus! We are so going!"
She clasped the flyer in her hand as Hanna disappeared through the door. Her eyes struggling to focus on the picture in the dim light. 'McCullers Circus' scrolled across in bold letters along with bright red and yellow stripes and a giant big top. While the colors were bold and distracting it was the image in the center that was holding her attention. Something familiar about the girl's eyes.
"Are you gonna go?" A voice called behind her. She turned startled, her eyes falling on the same auburn waves and the same warm brown eyes. The way she stood with her hands shoved into her front pockets. The way she smiled slightly as she stepped closer.
"I know you don't I?" Emily asked, still holding the flyer in her hand. The girl wrinkled her eyebrows in thought as she stepped closer.
"Kind of." She smirked, stopping beside her and leaning in close to look at the flyer in her hand. She held her breath as her arm brushed across hers. "I hope you decide to come." She said softly, a light challenge in her voice.
The girl moved past her in the doorway, slipping inside the crowded bar and leaving her standing alone on the sidewalk. She allowed the air to slip from her lungs again she looked down at the picture, then folded it carefully and tucked it into her purse without second thought.
Hanna was sitting at the bar laughing with some blonde girl she recognized from high school. Her appletini was gone and the bartender was replacing it with another. She slid into the empty seat beside her. Sadly the bartender was also placing a shot glass in front of her now. Sad because they came here enough for him to know exactly what she drank. Which was honestly anything strong and lacking sugar. She shot back the first quickly, vodka burning her throat on the way down. Hanna turned to face her as the blonde walked away.
"Is it odd that we've been out of rosewood high for five years and it's still the only thing that girl can talk about?" She shook her head incredulously. "Seriously, it's called a life." She added.
"Ouch." Emily smiled, the alcohol already numbing her mind. It was perfect timing when another shot appeared in front of her. Thankful for the smooth flow of tequila this time.
"I'm not talking about you." Hanna nudged her arm playfully. "Besides, you've been through enough 'life' for a lifetime."
She nodded in agreement. Neither of them could argue that. But why at 23 years old, did it seem like she was doing everything she could not to live? That was rhetorical. She didn't really care for the answer.
She froze in her place as she glanced down the bar. The girl with the auburn waves was leaning over the counter a few stools down, talking to the bartender and smiling. Her deep blue v-neck t-shirt hugged her tightly. A long thin strand of gold hung low around her neck, jingling against the counter with a mixture of small charms. The waitress behind the bar scooted two beers towards her and turned away but she couldn't help but notice the way their fingers grazed each others during the process. It was intentional.
"Han?" She nudged her with her foot, diverting her attention from the new drink in her hand. "She used to go to Rosewood didn't she?" Hanna peered over her shoulder and grinned.
"Oh awesome, Circus girl!" She squealed excitedly. "Damn, I like those boots but I've never been able to pull calf-height that well." She stuck her lower lip out in a pout.
"Hanna!" She said, nudging her again.
"What? Sorry." Hanna laughed, rubbing her leg then studying the girl down the bar again . "Oh, she was on Spencer's field hockey team. Badass!"
Emily looked back at her, but she was already turning away with the beer and falling into a table in the corner with a small group of random looking people. Something stirred in her chest as she watched her smile. Something uncomfortable and completely uncalled for. Luckily the next shot was already waiting for her so that feeling could pass quickly.
"Slow down, Em" Hanna interjected, grabbing the fifth shot from her hand and officially cutting her off.
"Whoa, there! I've done this longer than you. I think I know when to stop without you telling me." Hanna turned to face her straight on, a probing look in her eyes.
"Em, have you ever thought that maybe leaving Rosewood would be good for you?" She sighed. "I mean, there's a reason Aria and Spencer never come here and you went through way more than any of us."
"Yeah, I've thought about it. But I've decided that its easier to stay and accept how things are than it is to start over." She smiled at Hanna proudly.
"Hey, first step is admitting you have a problem so...check one! My job is done!" They both busted into laughter, Hanna almost knocking herself from the chair.
"See Han, this is why I love you! You didn't desert me when my girlfriend was murdered." She laughed.
Hanna's smile faded, humor disappearing from her face even though Emily continued to smile. It was a front and she knew it.
"Em...they didn't..." Hanna started. Emily shook her head to clear it.
"I know..I...I don't even know why I said that..." Typical of her, turning the corner from fun drunk to depressing in a matter of seconds. She had this pattern down pat.
"Em, I just want you to be happy." She mumbled reaching for her arm. She pulled her arm away as her smile faded.
"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry" She said, the fog from the liquor kept creeping into her line of vision. "I'm just gonna get some air."
She didn't wait for Hanna to object before she stumbled down from the stool, grabbing the fifth shot and knocking it back. People now packed the bar making it difficult for her to work her way towards the door. Half of the people she didn't even recognize which was odd considering she knew pretty much everyone in Rosewood. The guy she passed with a giant snake tattoo down his arm was surely just an alcohol induced illusion, because if not...it was definitely on his list of lifelong regrets.
She sighed as the cool outside air blasted her face. There was no denying what 100 people in such a small space could do to the room's temperature. She closed her eyes, leaning heavily into the brick wall and allowing the breeze to cool her skin. A battle began forming in her mind, making the ground spin beneath her feet. Why was she here? Everyone else had managed to move on except her. Everyone else was happy. Nothing felt real anymore. It hadn't in a long time and there wasn't even a glimmer of anything changing anytime soon. Not if she didn't take the steps necessary to start that change and she couldn't even convince herself that she wanted to. Pressure formed in her temples as anger surfaced. This was also typical of her. Happy, depressed, angry and broken.
"Fuck!" She shouted, kicking over the trash can beside her. Just watching as the garbage flew across the ground... Just like the pieces of her life. She pressed her hands to her temples to silence the screaming in her head.
"You know there are fines for assaulting trash bins." She tensed, looking around for the source of the voice and spotting her sitting on the curb a few feet away. "I should know." She added, a smile tugging at her lips. "I've attacked my fair share."
She released the air from her lungs, feeling the pain in her back as she realized she was digging herself into the wall for support. The brick scratching her skin even through her shirt. Slowly she relaxed, leaning away from the wall and walking forward. A curiosity replaced the anger.
"You used to live here didn't you?" She asked, eyeing her carefully and sitting down on the curb beside her. "Hanna said she recognized you from the field hockey team."
"Hanna? I don't remember that name from the team." She shook her head, looking slightly confused.
"No, she wasn't on the team...Spencer Hastings was though. She's a friend of mine." She clarified, looking away. She could feel her chocolate eyes studying her, and also the blood suddenly draining from her face due to the fact that even with the stillness of her body... everything moved around her. She pushed it from her head, carefully locking her gaze on a large square sign across the street that didn't seem to be moving as fast.
"Yeah, Spencer I remember. That girl was tough, and really good too." she admitted.
"Tough is one word for her." She agreed, letting her eyes leave the sign to look at her.
The girl's chocolate eyes rested softly on her, studying her face still as she took shallow breaths. Emily looked away again quickly as the dizziness moved back in , swaying her body slightly. She didn't want to be examined. Even though she knew she had gotten really good at hiding her feelings she also had suddenly become nauseous from talking.
"Whatever happened that's strained you two, I'm sure it'll be okay." Her voice was light and non-threatening, only making an observation, or a hope. She tensed at how quickly that wound had been discovered by her, hugging herself to cover the bare skin of her arms. Mostly to keep warm but also in an attempt to shield herself from her gaze. Her throat tightened as the air kicked up the girl's scent around her. Sweet and faint and at the moment...all kinds of wrong.
"Are you okay?" Her brow creased, reaching to touch her back. Emily's stomach clenched at the heat of her fingers through her shirt. Her throat tightening more as purple spots clouded her vision. "Emily?" She said, more panic in her voice now.
Something startled her mind as she spoke but she didn't have time to think about it before it was pushed from her mind by the heaving of her stomach. She felt her rub her hand soothingly across her back but it was too late to stop this horrific act.
"Oh, God" she said, leaning over the curb and emptying the contents of her stomach painfully.
The girl's hands moved up instantly, pulling her hair back from her face and holding it gently behind her head. What a great way to meet someone new. 'Nice to meet you, and sorry for possibly throwing up on your super cute boots. It's dark outside and that makes it hard to aim properly so... No hard feelings. I hope we can be friends.' The stabbing pain in her stomach dulled as she tried to focus solely on the fingers in her hair.
"Okay if you guys are going to insist on raunchy humor, I'm going back." she threatened, taking the last drink of her beer and slamming the bottle down.
"Oh come on McCullers, you're weak." Peter laughed, slugging Jack in the arm while the others jeered.
"No, I just have fine taste and you guys..." she gestured with her finger between them. "Don't." She stood to her feet and squeezed between their chairs and the wall. The beer had put a serious damper in her abilities to dish out a good come-back, and that signaled the end of the night for her.
"Weak!" They shouted behind her as she made her way around the tight chairs.
A hand shot up and grabbed her at the highest crease of her thigh stopping her in her tracks. His fingers grazing against an area where he didn't belong. Instincts kicked in as she turned, grabbing onto Jack's arm and bending it back just enough that he would now be praying it didn't break off completely. He froze instantly, and that was the smart choice for him to make. It didn't appear that anyone else noticed judging from the song they were now singing in unison, so she kept her voice quiet because her condescending humor was still intact.
"Hun, If you touch me again I'll make sure you wish that the tigers had been responsible for your missing limb." She smiled and released his arm. "And I'm not talking about your arm." Her eyes flickered over to Peter who just winked. She was the last person in this group to need protection and last one to mess with when angry. She may be a lot of things but weak wasn't one of them. Resilient was better.
She glanced over at the bar as she pushed through the door with her back. Smiling as she saw Emily nearly laughing herself from the stool.
It hadn't taken more than two beers to make her stumble slightly on the sidewalk, dropping down on the curb to slow the slight rotation of the ground. Most of that was due to the fact that she had a few shots back on the train before she had worked up the courage to come here at all. Peter was right, coming here was a good thing, maybe not at first but she felt better about it now. Like she was conquering a demon that had evaded her for the last seven years. Finally being here made it seem like a silly childish fear and nothing like the monster she had expected.
She had to stop for a moment and appreciate just how much she had changed since she had last been here. She wasn't that scared and angry little girl anymore. When they had first left Rosewood, there was a long period of time when she was angrier than before they left. Just a teenager dealing with being uprooted and pulled away from everything she had known, even though she desperately wanted that change. But then days came when she wasn't as angry and when she finally began to see what a gift her folks had given her. The happiness came, along with the peace and she soon found it easy to forget about Rosewood and all the things that tormented her there. Well, not too many things. Mainly a blonde haired girl with a heart-shaped face, but even she hadn't been her biggest fear then and she surely wasn't now. Of course it would be her luck to have to deal with pain again at some point, and she had. It seemed to follow her every step and all she wanted... was a break from the vicious cycle.
The door of the bar squeaked open, snapping her from her thoughts as Emily appeared behind her. The smile she had seen on her face just moments ago was now gone as she leaned into the brick wall. Eyes closed and breath steady. It's a confusing sight to see someone so beautiful look so sad. Like a fallen angel in the moonlight the way she was broken and crumbled against the cold stone. She couldn't blame all of her fears on the blonde girl because in all honesty most of them rested in the hands of the girl who now stood before her. But even those fears didn't seem to affect her the same way as they had before. She had grown up and changed and experienced a different life that was far from this town, and far from Emily fields. None of it could touch her now.
"You don't have to do this." Emily slurred as she helped her from the sidewalk. She locked her arm around her waist, steadying her as her legs wobbled beneath her body.
"Uh, yes I do. You're drunk and I offered. No big deal." She said letting Emily lean into her for support as they walked down the sidewalk. "But just don't breathe on me because I'm not a vodka person and it seems that you are." She added.
"No, I'm a "anything strong" kind of person." Emily mumbled.
They walked in silence down the dark sidewalk for a few minutes. Every few steps Emily would groan beside her in discomfort from the movement. Her thoughts were focused on Emily's words still and her own stomach churned because of them. She spoke like this was a regular occurence for her and that was a hard thought to accept. There was nothing right about why this girl would feel so lost that she had to routinely drown herself in order to stay lost. It was heart wrenching and wrong but she knew it was also none of her business and for some reason...that made it hurt more.
Emily held on tightly to her waist while she focused on deliberate steps and tried her best to ignore the heat of Emily's hands through the thin fabric of her shirt. That was proving to be difficult and was magnified from her own intoxication. She picked up her pace the best that she could manage without throwing Emily off-balance. Clenching her jaw to ignore the stirring in her chest just from the touch.
They came to a stop on the sidewalk in front of the large gray house and she immediately stepped out of Emily's grasp, taking a deep breath at the gap between them. Emily looked around confused, studying her surroundings like she had never been here before and only making her do a double take at the house herself and wonder if she had the address right.
"How did you know where I live?" Emily asked.
She stared at her blankly for a moment, straining for the right way to reply. Such an obvious answer already in her mind though there was no chance of her sharing it.
"Um, this town isn't that big." She smiled. "I used to live here, remember?"
Emily nodded, accepting that as a possible explanation quickly and only because her body was fiercely protesting her upright position at this point. She groaned lightly again, moving towards the front door, her foot catching on a crack in the sidewalk and sending her stumbling forward. She wrapped her arms around Emily's waist again trying her best to steady her. The amount of alcohol in her own body made it difficult but she managed.
"Okay, I'm walking you to the door." She added, again letting Emily lean into her as they climbed the steps on the front porch, her jaw returning to its clenched position.
"Thanks." Emily mumbled. "And I'm sorry. You don't even know me and now you're taking care of me because I can't seem to do it myself." Her voice was sarcastic and full of a loathing for herself. She swallowed hard before replying. It wasn't easy hearing so much pain and self hate in her voice.
"No...I..its fine, really." She said. There was too much going through her mind now to manage anything else.
Emily pulled her keys from her pocket and threw the door open. She stepped inside with Emily before she released her arm from around her waist. Her hands shoved into her pockets as Emily let go, locking her feet in place in the doorway.
"Uh, I better go." She said, smilingly lightly at her. Her job was done now. Emily was home safe and that was all she could do. She turned on her heels and stepped back outside, instantly relishing the cold air against her skin that suddenly felt a little too warm. Her head was spinning as the alcohol began to wear her down around the edges.
"You're Paige, right?" Emily called behind her.
She turned to see her leaning against the door frame, a soft expression on her face and a worn look in her eyes.
"Yeah." She smiled lightly. Emily sighed lightly, this time it was her turn to study Paige's eyes.
"You said my name earlier." she noted watching as her eyes softened.
"I don't forget certain names." Paige smiled then turned and headed away into the darkness.
Her heart didn't slow the entire walk back to the fair grounds. She hoped that the breeze would bring down the temperature of her skin but it didn't. Instead it felt like the alcohol was fire burning through her bloodstream and threatening to bring her crashing to the cold ground. Even the thought of that brought some relief because the burn was overpowering and at least if she fell she would have solid proof that the ground wasn't really moving beneath her feet. It had to be the alcohol because no other reason made sense or mattered enough to change anything.
Something kept her in the doorway for much longer than she cared to admit. Leaning into the door frame long after Paige's shadow had disappeared into the night. The cool air made her shiver enough to finally close the door. Well, that and the rolling of her stomach. The stairs proved difficult without someone to lean into and the walls of the hallway seemed to shift and close in on her like the moving tunnel of a carnival fun house. Dizzying and surreal. She dropped her bag on the dresser and reached inside, pulling out the folded flyer and studying the girl on the front. Paige McCullers.
She remembered her now. Even though time had lengthened her auburn hair from her shoulders to rest across her chest, she still had the same deep eyes and creamy skin. A soft rosy color to her cheeks. She hadn't really known her, she just knew of her. She felt touched by how this girl who didn't know her would take time to walk her home on a Friday night. Several reasons for that crept into her mind but she decided upon the most simple. Paige was a nice person and was just doing the decent thing. The more she thought about it the worse she felt for possibly throwing up on her boots.
The spinning of the room around her increased, forcing her to take solace in the stillness of the bed without removing her clothes or shoes. She dropped to down, pulling the quilt over her head and closing her eyes.
A soft scent tickled her nose, making her eyes shoot open again. She pressed the lavender fabric to her nose, searching for the origin, but it held nothing. She twisted her fingers into the front of her shirt, bringing it to her nose, shivering from the foreign scent that clung to her body. Faint and sweet. Her eyes closed, still clutching her shirt over her nose as she fell asleep.
Say When- The Fray (I do not own these lyrics ((but i wish i did...seriously)) )
I see you there, don't know where you come from
Unaware the stare from someone
Don't appear to care that I saw ya. And I want you
What's your name
Cuz' I have to know it
You let me in and begin to show it
We're terrified 'cuz we're heading straight for it, might get it.
You're in the song playing on the background
All alone but you're turning up now
And everyone is rising to meet you, to greet you
Turn around and you're walking toward me
I'm breaking down and you're breathing slowly
Say the word and I will be your man, your man
And my own two hands will comfort you
And my own two arms will carry you
Come close and then even closer
We bring it in but we go no further
Two ghosts in one mirror, no nearer
Later on if it turns to chaos, hurricane coming all around us
See the crack, pull it back from the window, you stay low
Come across you lost and broken
You're coming to but you're slow in waking
You start to shake.
You still haven't spoken, what happened
They're coming back and you just dont know when
You want to cry but there's nothing comin'
They're gonna push until you give in, say when
Now we're here and it turns to chaos
Hurricane coming all around us
Double crack throws you back from the window, you stay low
It all began with the man and country
Every plan sends another century around again
Another nation fallen
Maybe god can be on both sides
Of the gun never understood why
Some of us never get it so good, so good
Some of this was here before us
All of this will go after us
Never stops until we give in, give in
And my own two hands will comfort you