"I'm taking this."
I watched with damp eyes as Hailey grabbed the gin and tucked it under her arm. She had worked a long shift at the bakery and was probably getting tired of watching me stare mournfully at the phone.
"You headin' to bed anytime soon?"
I shrugged the tiniest bit, feeling like I was in a coma. I was still a bit drunk, still a lot miserable, and I didn't think I'd get any sleep that night. "Yeah, in two seconds." I muttered, and Hailey blinked, then went to bed. I could tell our talk had taken a lot out of her, and when she retreated, I lied flat on the floor.
The phone was still gripped in my hand, I didn't think I'd put it down until I did what I knew I had to do before I could even breathe easily. I dialed Spencer's number.
She answered after the first two rings. I expected a longer wait, if she answered at all. "Ashley?" Her voice was a shaky whisper.
I cleared my throat. "Hey..." I said softly. "How did you...how did you know it was me?"
"It's 2:30 am."
A few seconds went by before I hear Spencer sigh. "Any particular reason you're calling?"
"I don't know yet."
She laughed a little, but it was an impatient laugh. "Is that really all you - "
"I'm sorry for falling in love with you when I was - what, ten?" I tell her, feeling miserable. I swallow and wait for her reply.
"Truthfully, yes." I lie.
"I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry I ran into a little brown haired girl the day I moved into a random apartment complex, in a random city in California." Spencer tells me calmly. "I was never...I'll never be sorry."
"No?" I squeeze my eyes shut against the tears.
"And I don't believe you are, either." Spencer's voice shakes a little. "Stop lying to me, please. I can tell every single time, and it hurts."
I hold the phone closer to my ear, pulling my knees up to my chest in my lying position on the floor. "Truthfully?" The words wobble coming out of my mouth, but I continue. "Truthfully, Spencer..."
"Please... Do you want me to go?" I can hear Spencer's tear stained voice, trying to be so strong. "Truthfully, I love you with all that's in my heart, or atleast all I know of it. Because you're the only person that's ever been there, really." She takes a deep breath, and my entire body feels warm. "Truthfully, people say there are other fish in the sea. And there...there are, but there's no more Ashley Davies, there's only one. And I'm pretty...painfully aware of that, because you're the best. I don't think...I know I can't love anyone like I love you. Like I could love you, if you'd just..."
"Spencey..." Spencer laughs, a tiny, happy laugh on the other end, and goes on.
"Truthfully, uh...I know without a doubt that I could love you until - until I died, and you know, maybe even after that." She tells me. "Truthfully, Ashee, I can see us the way we should be. I can see us, in a house, our house. I can see a wedding, with your Mom, and Glen, and my Mom and you know, toasts and I'd wear white and walk down to aisle and..." She sighs, and I can see her eyes, wistful and glittering, imagining this.
I'm openly crying at the sound of her voice, so sure and passionate, but I don't know if they're sad tears. I pray they're not sad tears. "Button..." I whisper.
"No, wait. Wait, Ashee. And I can see...fuck, truthfully? I can see children, really, I see me being cranky and pregnant, or you'd be cranky and pregnant or...or, I can...I can see our children, I know you'd like that. And, Jesus, I'd love it, too, Ashley. I'm twenty four years old but I can see, truthfully, I can see us old, on our porches, laughing at all the kids running around, stupid kids thinking life was easy...trying to fall in love. We'd laugh so damn hard, Ashee, hoping they'd be better at it than us." I'm hugging my knees to my chest, clutching them tightly. I'm squeezing my eyes shut so tight I can almost make believe it's Spencer I'm holding.
"I'm so sorry, Ashley. So sorry, oh, God. For everything. This shouldn't have...it should never have been like this, we should be..." Her voice is almost disappearing in her sobs. "Everything..." Her words are so small, her voice barely carrying them through the phone lines.
I have no idea what to do with this. My head is swimming, my heart is bursting, and I feel completely lost. The pain is still there, ragged and amplified now, in the dark, on my floor.
"Truthfully..." I lick my lips, my cheeks wet with tears. I hate myself. I don't know if Hailey's right anymore, if it's anger, or pain. Or any of those things. "I'm not sure if it's not too late." The words are out of my mouth before I can even understand their meaning, before I was aware I thought them. I don't know if they're the truth, but I know they hurt her. They sure as hell hurt me.
Spencer's quiet at first, and I think about Taylor, for the first time wondering if she can hear Spencer. If she's even there, if she even cares. I think I just broke my own heart for the millionth time, but really, I'm used to the pain. I might even find comfort in it.
"Do you hate me?" She asks softly, and my heart almost breaks.
"I don't - "
"You've never stopped hurting me, Ashley." Her voice is grave, but gentle. "Even when you didn't mean to. I don't...I don't understand why - "
"Spencey - "
"Don't!" Spencer cries, her voice loud.
"Please, Button...What am I thinking?"
"I don't know what you're thinking, Ashley! I don't know!" She's frantic. "We're not twelve anymore! I don't know...will you just tell me that you love me?" She whimpers. "Tell me you forgive me. Tell me..."
"I love you so...completely and - obsessively and thoroughly and...and all those things you said? They're beautiful, Spencer. They're so fucking beautiful, and you're right. We should have...everything. Maybe we could have had them, you know, in a different...a different time."
"A different time?"
"Maybe if...maybe if you'd let me kiss you when we were in high school, maybe if you'd have been with me, instead of Aiden, if you weren't afraid of your Mom, if..." My heart is beating in my throat, punctuating all my words
"Maybe if you hadn't left! Maybe if you could forget...if we could just forget." Spencer's voice gets more and more faraway. "I wish I could forget." She whispers.
"I'm leaving in the morning." I tell her, my voice stilted. I hear her sob for a split second before I put the phone down, calmly, and wipe at my tears. I stand up on shaky feet.
"I loved you." I whisper, to no one. "I really did."
"I'm twenty four years old but I can see, truthfully, I can see us old, on our porches, laughing at all the kids running around, stupid kids thinking life was easy...trying to fall in love. We'd laugh so damn hard, Ashee, hoping they'd be better at it than us."
The tears come faster than they ever have before, and I pick up the phone, squeezing it until my fingertips cramp, then I slam it once, twice, three times against the table until it's not a phone, it's just pieces of something that used to be a phone. I let out a strangled sob, and I'm a whirlwind heading into my room, a hurricane destroying everything in its path. The closet is empty in seconds, clothes strewn all over the bed. What used to be in the nightstand is now on the floor, things that were on the floor have been kicked to the other side of the room, and when I let myself fall on the ground, there's blood on my hand.
It doesn't hurt, and I stare at it numbly, not feeling anything. I've stopped crying, and there's a strange, suffocating silence in the room. I feel a familiar urge, and by the time I've grabbed for the wastebasket, I've already vomited on my expensive wood floors. This time, I don't think it's from the alcohol. I spit, turn my head, and lay where I am.
I deserve to sleep next to vomit.