"I still don't know my way around." Spencer glances about the enormous campus, looking intimidated.
"I'm not sure anyone does." I say with a frown, reaching down to grab her hand. My security blanket.
A few months ago, Spencer and I graduated from high school. Even fewer months ago, we had the best summer of our lives - together. And now, it's only been a few days since being official university students - California State University.
Spencer, of course, scored a scholarship. I, of course, knew I couldn't be without her for more than a few minutes at a time and paid my own way in. I was never stupid, but Spencer was just better with school work. We decided we'd handle college together, that that was the best way.
"Hey, you." I bark at some guy with glasses. I point to the name of my class of my schedule. "Where is that?"
"Uh..." He adjusts his glasses, looking at my hand in Spencer's. I roll my eyes. "You wanna go up that long walkway, and that's the building right there. Second floor. You'll find it."
"Good." I look at Spencer. "Let's go, Spencer."
My Mom pulled some strings - we scored a very tiny, cramped dorm together. Apparently, it's the best that money can buy. I'm not impressed.
"You should be nicer." Spencer says sunnily.
"I am nice. I'm the nicest." I cling to her hand. High school was one thing, but university is huge. I'm afraid of losing her.
"You're the nicest to me." She tells me. "Other people, not so much."
I give her a charming smile. "Now, who else am I supposed to be nice to?"
Spencer just smirks.
Living with Spencer, if only for a few days so far, has been a dream come true. We might only see each other for a few minutes a day, our schedules are busy, but they're my favorite. And to fall asleep with her each night - I can't begin to explain how good that feels. Almost as good as waking up next to her every morning.
"Did you call Kyla?"
I nod my head. Kyla got a scholarship to some prestigious art academy in New York. We'd grown pretty close over the past year, and she's my best friend. I'd never been more proud than when I saw her off just a few weeks ago, to go live her life on another coast.
I know she'll do fine.
"She says I have to visit her as soon as possible. Then she talked my ear off about how cute the the guys on the east coast are." I roll my eyes, but Spencer laughs.
"Sounds like Kyla."
"Yep." We keep walking, hand swinging between us.
"Look." Spencer says with a grin, nudging me in a direction. Madison is bringing a platter of drinks and fries to a group of overly blonde, overly chatty girls. She looks completely happy to be doing so.
"Guess she's kissing butt." I say, oddly satisfied.
"She'll be a sister in no time." Spencer says, sure of it. Madison was bred for sorority life. We've come a long way, Madison and I. High school can do that to you. I'm not her biggest fan, and she certainly isn't mine, but the girl is a blast to hang out with. And I know I can count on her.
She catches our eye from across the quad. We don't go to say hello, but she gives us a bright smile and a wiggle of her fingers. I wave a little back at her, half a grin on my face. I know we probably won't interact much, but I do know she'll always be in my peripherals.
"Alright, Spence. This is you." I say, stopping outside a crowded hallway.
Spencer looks at me tenderly. Her hair is shorter, a little bit darker. I told her I've always liked it long and blonde, but she needed change. I don't blame her. She's still the beautiful girl I've always known, just a little older and wiser. We've grown up with each other through a very important part of our lives, and I like to think we've grown into each other.
I can only count the years we've been together on one hand, but I know we have a lot of future ahead of us. "How long do you plan on walking me to all my classes?"
I look at the sky, pretending to count. "What degree are you going for again?"
Spencer shakes her head at me, leaning in for a kiss.
Some knucklehead with a Lakers hat barrels into her shoulder, sending her a little off balance. She looks behind her, flustered.
"Watch it, dickface!" I yell at his back.
He turns around, glaring. "You just railroaded my girlfriend, ass." I say, gesturing to Spencer with a mean look at my face.
"Sorry." He mumbles, rolling his eyes and turning back around.
"You better be." I grit my teeth at his retreating figure. "You okay?"
"I'm fine, Ash." Spencer says, cocking an eyebrow. "I'm not made of porcelain."
"But that guy - "
"He just - "
"I was there." She's containing her grin.
I stick out my bottom lip in a pout. "It's just 'cause I love ya so much." I trail my toe on the sidewalk, looking shy. I grew approximately one half inch during the past year, cut about one inch off my hair, and changed my favorite color from red to green. So, you could say I've changed. Spencer does. Really, though, I just don't see it.
"What a coincidence." Spencer takes a step closer to me, "I feel the exact same way."
"So, gimme a kiss and get to your class." I tell her, puckering.
She does, and then she's off. I watch her walk away, this girl I love so much.
She loves me a lot, I can tell. I love her dearly. I'm sure she knows this.
I sigh, speedwalking to my classes. They're not that bad, really. And it's just turning dusk before I make it back to my dorm.
Spencer's sitting at the tiny desk, her hair tossed up in a bun, frowning over an open book. She's chewing on her pencil when she looks up.
"How's my little learner?" I wrap my arms around her neck, giving her a quick kiss.
"About three feet deep in schoolwork." She mumbles.
I'm about four feet deep. I just smile. "You hungry?"
"I'm making dinner. You keep working."
We enjoy a quiet dinner, sharing stories and laughs. Like I said, living with Spencer is something I always imagined myself doing and always imagined myself loving. And I was right. She cleans up the dishes while I'm just cracking the books.
She uses the bathroom down the hall while I'm reading.
She comes back, wearing her pajamas. She's sleepy, I can tell, and looks completely adorable. She approaches me, out of habit rubbing her hand in a circular motion across her stomach - her spot. It has become a habit, something she does on instinct now.
Her shirt rides up a bit, showing the bottom of a scar that's already begun to fade. She isn't self conscious anymore, in fact, she hardly notices it. I place a hand flat on her stomach, putting down my pen and peering up at her.
"Goin' to bed." She kisses my temple, stifling a yawn.
"I'll be there in a minute, Spence." I give her a tiny smile and she nods, going to climb into our bed. Our one bed, made up of two separate beds pushed together.
I click my light off after a few minutes, pulling all my clothes off, down to my panties. I'm old fashioned like that. Spencer pulls back to covers for me, both of us groaning in tired delight as our bodies fit together, like they always did, a perfect mold. Like they always will.
She murmurs a goodnight into my ear, holding me from behind. She says she likes to feel me against her body, against her front.
Despite the loud noises in the room next to us, and the people in the hall stomping around, Spencer has no trouble falling asleep. Never did.
I take a little bit longer. But eventually, I always fall asleep.
Sometimes Spencer has nightmares, wakes up with a scared look on her face, wide eyes. I always tell her there's nothing to be afraid of when I'm there, pressing a warm kiss right onto her forehead. Usually, she goes right back to sleep.
I never tell her I have nightmares, too. Loud gunshots haunt my dreams, Spencer, a vision in a bloody prom dress. Her eyes fluttering shut for what, in my dream, is forever.
But I wake up, and I can always feel her. She's always there, and I hope she always will be. We're strong, I don't doubt that.
So I don't tell her about my dreams, but I'm sure they're the same as hers. Dreams about fear, dreams about death and doom.
But I don't speak of it.
We were both there when she was on the receiving end of a stray bullet, and we were both there when she got better.
Now, we're both here for the dreams. I know I wouldn't want it any other way.
I figure this just brings us closer together, in a really gloomy, morbid way.
I have other dreams, too. Dreams about us. Happiness. My Spencer.
Those, I tell.