As they are driving to school, in content silence, Spencer can't help but wonder if something is bothering Ashley. The past couple of weeks it had seemed like things were weighing a little more heavily on her shoulders, of course Ashley would never admit it, so she thought it best not to pry into something she wasn't sure of. But still, Spencer was starting to get a little worried, just what was bothering her girlfriend so much?
"You okay, you look like something's bothering you?"
"Huh? Oh, I'm just a little tired, nothing to worry about."
Spencer just nodded in resignation. She accepted the answer, though she didn't quite believe it.
The truth was, Ashley was feeling kind of low lately, sure she could still hold up her game face for the world to see and show no noticeable difference to most people, but Spencer was not most people, and she knew that. So of course she would notice something. But for now all Ashley wanted to do was ignore whatever it was she was feeling. How could she talk about something she wasn't sure she was feeling, she just couldn't put her finger on it. Sure her mom was being a bitch, as per usual, and her dad wasn't around, but that was also the usual. And her mom wasn't even home this week, so she should be less tense, right?
In the classes that they shared together, Spencer couldn't help but notice Ashley really was acting slightly different. Sure she never really paid much attention in class in the first place, but now with her just looking out the window with a blank look on her face, something piqued Spencer's worry yet again that day.
Just as they were finishing lunch Ashley realized what was bothering her. Okay she not so much noticed it as it basically bitch slapped her in the face. As she was making her way towards her locker with Spencer by her side who just has to make some snide comment about the two?
"Awww, look at the cute couple, how was your vacation on the island of lezbos? Spencer, I really hope your just suffering some kind of mental lapse, because I mean Ashley, come on, you could do so much better, even for a homely homo like yourself."
"Madison, might I attract your attention out of your ass so I can smack that pretty little face of yours?"
"Ha, you wish you had a face this flawless, now run along Ellen twins, run along"
Ashley could usually take whatever shit was thrown her way, but today she just wasn't in the mood, as Spencer grabbed her arm to continue in their was she almost gave into the urge to jump Madison right there and beat the hell out of her. She didn't, of course, mostly cause she didn't want to disappoint a certain someone tugging at her arm, and because honestly, she wasn't even in the mood for that, which Ashley was immediately aware of.
"Something must really be wrong with me" she mumbled to herself.
"Did you say something" Spencer asked.
"Hmmm, no. So you want to hang at my casa after school today?" She put on her bright smile.
"Of course, where else would I rather be?"
Just then it hit Ashley, she was being worn down. She has always been so strong and never once broke down from the constant remarks and looks she got a school. So why now, what was different? Why wasn't she able to keep that particular wall up as well anymore? She honestly didn't know. All she did know though was that she was tired. The stress was draining her of some of her energy, and of course the only person that noticed was Spencer. But she had to be strong for her, she didn't want to tell her she was becoming vulnerable, she didn't want to let her down.
As Ashley was off in her own little world for a moment the thought suddenly clicked for Spencer. Ashley was slightly upset. She had been less than her bouncy self lately, and her mood wasn't as high as it usually was, that is when things were going so smoothly like they were now. Ashley seemed to be experiencing a lot of what Spencer had felt numerous times, she was insecure. Ashley, the queen of all that is cool steely resolve and quick wit and a wicked tongue was letting it get to her. Her feelings were hurt, and Spencer's heart suddenly sank, she mentally kicked herself for not realizing sooner. Ashley was only human, but she had never let those whispers and crude remarks get to her before. So what, had it just gotten to her too much, had something else happened to cause this little break down in Ashley's spirit? Spencer didn't know, but she was determined to find out, she decided to wait until after school when they were safely away from everyone in the comfort of Ashley's room to confront her about what's been going on. As much as Spencer was already bracing herself for any fallout that might come if this impending conversation were to go south, she couldn't stand to see Ashley in even the slightest bit of pain, so she decided it was worth the risk to help her girlfriend.
School had been out for a couple of hours now and Spencer and Ashley were relaxing semi-watching TV. After they hung out for a few more hours, it was getting late and Spencer knew she should probably be getting home, but it was Friday after all so maybe she could just…
"Spence? Hello, earth to Spencer." Ashley nudged a totally lost in thought Spencer back to reality.
"What? Ash, what's wrong?" A startled Spencer said.
"Well, before you were off in some steamy fantasy land I'm sure you were in, I was going to say that it's getting kind of late."
"Oh, yeah, I guess it is." Spencer got up intending on heading out the door to be driven home.
"Wait, Spence, I was going to say something else." Spencer then turned around. "I was actually wondering if you would stay here tonight, with me? I mean it late and all and well, I'm little tired so maybe I shouldn't be driving…" Ashley was starting to ramble, it was really cute to Spencer.
"Whoa, slow down there Ash, of course I'll spend the night, all you had to do was ask. Just let me call home and tell my dad."
A smile spread across Ashley's face, and Spencer had the impression that she was relieved that her answer was yes, almost as if Ashley was afraid to be alone tonight.
"There. Taken care of, you're stuck with me Davies."
All Ashley could muster was a sigh of relief.
"Good, I kind of just wanted to be able to hold you tonight, you know I like having you in my arms."
Spencer's heart swelled and a smile spread across her face.
"You know, Ash, if there's something you want to talk about, you know you can. I mean even though we're dating I am still your best friend, and you can tell me anything."
"I know, I know, really, I'm fine, don't worry you're pretty little head so much."
"Ashley Davies. Whether you realize it or not I can see past the walls you put up. I've noticed something bothering you these past few weeks. I couldn't put my finger on it. And then today you looked somewhat defeated, and my heart sank for you. I'm here for you, I wish you would just let me be."
"What? I don't know what you're…"
"Ashley, its me you're talking to, I know you better than you give me credit for."
Ashley's eyes started to swell with tears, and immediately Spencer was by her side. She could tell she was trying to force back the tears, much to no avail.
"Ash, baby, you don't always have to be so strong all of the time."
"Yes, I do. If I'm not then who's going to protect you? Who's going to protect me? If I'm not strong all of the time, then I'll fall apart, and then I'll be useless to you. I have to be strong for you."
Now Spencer had a few tears running down her cheeks as well.
"Ashley, look at me." She took her chin in her hand it brought her eyes up to meet her own. "Listen to me, you may feel like you have to be strong all the time out there, but you don't. And if you really need to be all that to the world, then that's fine. But when we're here, and it's just you and me, and we're away from all of the madness, you don't need to be strong for me. Let me be strong for you. Let me protect you. I can see the pain you're holding back, that's just been building because you thought you had to keep it inside. But you don't. You don't always have to be the one to hold me, you don't have to keep those walls up when we're here, like this, the two of us."
Now the tears were really streaming, down both faces. Ashley just looked up into Spencer's deep eyes and let her hug her. Spencer took her in big hug and just held Ashley until she felt better. Both had now stopped crying and felt much better. Ashley sat back up, some of her tough exterior quickly creeping back to her normal form and then looked back at Spencer.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to bother you with this. It was just that, I don't know, everything was getting to me a little more, and I didn't know why, and then it all just became too much I guess. Spence, you are my saving grace, my rock. I don't know what I would do without you."
Spencer couldn't do anything but blush slightly and smile. She leaned in and gave Ashley a soft, passionate, reassuring kiss.
"It's okay Ash, you don't have to be afraid around me, like I said, I'm here for you."
A comfortable silence rested between the two as they both lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Emotions could be so draining sometimes. Spencer was content to just leave it at that, they were both understood and she was just about to drift off when she was brought back to an awakened state.
"Spence?" Ashley whispered to her right.
"Do you um, think you could hold me, I mean you don't have to, but I was just kind of wondering…"
"Shhh. It's okay baby, I'm right here."
And then Spencer wrapped her body around Ashley's, cradling her into her arms as the both drifted off to a sleep full of love and contentment. All of their fears and worries washed away, by the simple embrace of one another. And nothing had ever seemed more blissful, more right.