A/N Yeah, guess who's back... Sorry I have been a bad bad author and just let my poor stories just sit there all neglected and everything, but this time I'm back and I will finish this one and SFW. I have a new BETA who is pretty awesome, letsbefrankimawkward, you should check out the story she has going on right now, it's top shelf. So I think this chappy is a little rusty and was mainly to get me back into the swing of things, I have it all planned so we're good. Thanks for everyone who's stuck with me, I really appreciate it and to any new readers, welcome :D
Chapter 13: When Will it All Become Clear?
The park was mostly peaceful; the faintest of breezes carried a slight saltiness with it from the ocean. Spencer took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. It'd been an hour since she'd left her mother's office, dumbstruck and more than a little confused. She sat on the bench, watching a few Reapers play Frisbee. They laughed as one of them made a dive for the plastic disc and somersaulted backwards, standing up triumphantly holding it. The Light Fate envied them. They didn't seem to have a worry in the world except for their next assignment. They didn't have to worry about keeping the balance intact or having to be a shining example for their council. They just had to be where their post-it told them to go at the right time and touch the right person, it was all so simple. Nothing like the predicament she found herself in currently.
"Hey, sister goody-goody, what brings you by these parts, especially sans a very hot undecided Fate?" As if thinking too hard about the Reapers had brought her very own Reaper, Glen plopped down on the bench next to his sister.
Spencer looked over at the blonde guy, forever stuck at 19 and full of that youthful mischievousness he had failed to lose regardless of all his years on The In Between. A slow smile graced her face, unable to resist her brother's cheery mood.
"Just processing after a meeting with Mom." Spencer tried to shrug it off like nothing but Glen knew his sister better than anyone. He could see the weight of the Universe on her shoulders.
Glen rolled his eyes, "Oh, that must have been loads of fun."
"Yeah, a real party," Spencer replied dryly, staring down at her hands. Spencer always felt so emotionally drained whenever she had to be around her Mother. It was a shame because once upon a time they had been close, but not so much anymore.
"Well, you know Mom, Spence. She takes a while to get over stuff," Glen tried to console his sister. Every since the "Carmen Incident" as it was called, their mom had been especially hard on Spencer. Not that she had been particularly easy on his little sister to begin with, but it had been ten times worse since the incident. It had been over 50 years ago and Glen thought his Mom should just get over it. Spencer had been the perfect daughter and Fate since, but she still was hyper critical of everything her only daughter did. It wasn't enough for Paula that Spencer was a Head Light Fate, or that she was held up as an example to other Light Fates to aspire to be; their mother still always found something that Spencer needed to improve on, something that the Great Paula Carlin would have done differently and, of course, better. Glen was amazed his sister hadn't snapped under the pressure. It was one of the main reasons why he never wanted to be a Fate, though his lack of aspirations hadn't failed to bring him his fair share of lectures and disapproving looks as well.
"No, it's not like that. She was actually nice today but only because of my assignment and if I screw it up, it's going to be a lot worse than it was after that Carmen thing…" Spencer looked at her brother, head tilted, her eyes squinted in mild confusion, as if she was trying to figure out a calculus problem in her head.
The meeting with her mother had left her more confused and conflicted than she'd ever been. She felt as if she was being pulled in all different directions, one part towards Ashley, another part towards what was expected of her, another part towards not letting her mom down again and yet another part towards doing the job that was assigned to her by the Council. She didn't know which way to go, she felt completely off balance. For the first time she truly understood how Ashley must feel since coming to the In Between.
Glen reached up and rubbed his thumb gently between his sister's eyebrows where little worry creases had formed, trying to smooth them out. "Good thing you can't get wrinkles," He gently laughed. "You want to talk about it?"
"No, it's ok, Glen. I'll figure it out," Spencer sighed, grateful that her brother cared, but she knew she couldn't tell him what was going on, not just because her mom had told her that she couldn't repeat anything they had talked about that afternoon, but because she didn't even know where to start.
"Hey, how about we go pick up that hottie you have stashed away at the dorms and go down to the Mall?" Glen wiggled his eyebrows and gave Spencer his goofiest grin. "My friend Max called me just before I saw you. He said there's 'Must See Madison' action happening at the Mall."
"What are you talking about? Is she trying out for the IB's Next Top Skank? Because I'm pretty sure she has that one already hands down."
"Seriously? You don't know?" Glen could barely contain his glee. Spence must have a lot on her mind if she hadn't heard the news yet. With a clap, he jumped up, a grin so big on his face it looked like it would split in two.
"Know what?" Spencer demanded to know with a smile. His excitement was contagious. She was clueless, but judging from the look on Glen's face, this is was especially good.
"Ok, let's go grab Ashley from the Dorms, because this is NOT to be missed; trust me," Glen laughed as he tugged his sister's hand and pulled her up from the bench, almost dragging her towards her car.
Earlier that Day…
Madison was having a very bad day, to say the least. One could almost say it was one of the worst in her existence, not the absolute worst, but very close to it. It had started off normal enough, she woke up to Gauge snoring next to her, his large manly arm around her waist pinning her to the bed. Normally she didn't mind but he hadn't taken off his watch the night before and it was digging into her hip painfully.
As she tried to shift out of the bed without waking him, she ended up misjudging how close to the edge she actually was and ended up falling out of the bed, taking the lamp on the bed side table down with her in a loud crash while managing to break a nail.
"Shit!" she cursed, inspecting the damage to her once perfectly manicured nail. "Dammit! I just had them done," she mumbled. From the bed, Gauge only made a grunting noise and rolled over, snoring loudly. Madison got up, rubbing her ass while sucking on her fingertip. It stung like a bitch. She stumbled over to the counter where her kitchen area was and turned on the coffee pot. Grabbing the bag of grounded up Starbuck's beans she'd gotten the other day, she moaned in aggravation at how light it felt. A loud growl of frustration filled the room as she wadded up and threw the empty bag towards the bed where Gauge slept oblivious to the murderous thoughts his girlfriend was having in relation to him.
With a huge roll of her eyes and one last huff of indignation, Madison stomp off to her bathroom to get ready for the day, resigned to the fact she'd have to leave a little earlier to her meeting to grab some coffee on the way. She was already dreading meeting with her manager today. She had no real news to update him on about Ashley because the girl had been avoiding her like the plague. Most people might have been a bit worried, but not Madison. She was confident once she had the girl with her on assignments she could show her how the Dark Path was much more fun than being a wanna-be-do-gooder on the Light Side.
Promptly at 9 am, Madison walked out of her dorm, Gauge still passed out in bed. She strutted down the sidewalk, her Manolo Blahniks smartly clicking against the pavement. She knew she looked amazing. She was wearing a tight little red shirt with a neckline so low it was amazing she didn't pop out of it. Her long dark brown hair was immaculately styled with just the right amount of lift and wave, cascading down her back. She brushed her short black skirt down a little more off her hips. Despite the rocky start, this day was only going to get better. She was sure of it.
Thirty-five minutes later, Madison walked into the waiting room for the offices of the Dark Council Management. Her hair was a windblown mess, a dark, wet, brown stain ran down her shirt and she was carrying her shoes, the heel of the left one dangling, hanging on by just a few threads.
With a thud she slammed her heels on the tall black marble counter the receptionist was sitting behind. The woman looked up, merely raising an eyebrow at the disheveled mess standing in front of her.
"Madison, Alazzar is waiting for you," Deandra, the receptionist, informed the Dark Fate.
"I need to get presentable first; can you tell him I'll be a few minutes?" Madison barked as she turned towards the woman's room.
"Actually, you're already late. He has a very busy day, so you need to go right now," the receptionist said reproachfully.
"Look, I was accosted by a freaking Reaper as I was walking over here!" Madison seethed as she whipped around, glaring at the woman behind the counter. "I was minding my own business, drinking my nonfat soy latte from Starbuck's when some Reaper came flying down the sidewalk on his skateboard and tells me to get out of the way. Of course I wasn't going to move for the likes of him, so he almost ran me over! Can you believe the nerve of that bottom feeder! I had to jump out of way, wedging my heel in a crack, which caused me to fall into a bush, my coffee spilling all over me, my beautiful Manolo Blahniks ruined! So when I say I need a minute to get presentable, I mean, I need a minute."
"Sorry, Madison, but he said to send you directly in when you got here." Deandra smirked. She'd never been a big fan of the cocky Dark Fate in front of her so she was more than enjoying the fact that Madison was more than likely in trouble. "He's already upset that you're late."
Madison turned back around and marched towards the large black granite doors that lead to the inner offices. With as much dignity as she could muster, she tried her best to smooth her hair down and straighten her shirt as she shoelessly walked through the doors.
The dark red carpet was soft under her stocking feet, a stark contrast to the sheer black marble walls that lined the hall. The blackness of them barely allowed the light to reflect off them. A shimmering silhouette of Madison followed her down the hallway. She would never admit it to another being but the affect always creeped her out. It felt as if she was being escorted by two executioners on each side, walking her to her doom. A small part of her felt that this time she might not be too far off the mark. She stopped in front of a black, glass door, so dense in its darkness that no light would reflect off of it. Embossed neatly in a red metallic print, Alazzar, VP of Acquisitions, shone brightly from the impossibly dark glass.
Taking a deep breath and one final smoothing down of her hair and skirt, the Dark Fate raised her hand to knock on the door. Before she could bring her clenched fist down, the door swung silently open as a loud, stern voice called out to her.
"Madison, get your ass in here, NOW!"
The anger in Alazzar's voice was apparent; something that was never good in a Demon and doubly bad when said pissed off Demon was your supervisor.
"Alazzar, I am so sorry. You would not believe what happened to me as I was on my way over here…" Madison started as soon as she walked through the door.
"Silence!" With that single demand from her boss, Madison instantly stopped her rambling and sat in the chair located before the large desk in front of her.
The desk was imposing, as was everything in Alazzar's office. It was made of cool black steel with the top made out of the same type of glass as the door. Behind the desk in a leather chair, wearing a suit Donald Trump would sell his soul for, sat a handsome man, almost beautiful in his perfection. He had jet black, hair that he kept cut short in the back and sides, a mop of curls covered the top with a few curls hanging down on his forehead. His features looked like they had been carved out of granite by the finest sculptor, but it was his eyes that pulled people in. They were like pools of obsidian, so dark with tiny fissures of gold. They were the type of eyes that people couldn't look away from, even as they knew he was looking into their very soul.
"I care nothing of your petty tribulations, Madison, and even less for your irrelevant excuses." Alazzar leaned forward, his hands folded under his chin, his index fingers tapping against his lips as he studied the Dark Fate in front of him. "No, what concerns me, nay, my only concern is your lack of progress with Ashley Davies."
Madison opened her mouth to respond but quickly shut it in a guppy like manner, as the Demon waved his hand, dismissing anything she might have said.
"I do not think you've taken this assignment seriously, Madison, for if you had, we would not be having this conversation right now." Alazzar slammed his hands down on the desk, the loud noise making Madison jump. His eyes blazed into hers as he continued his rant. "If you truly understood the ramifications and importance of this assignment, then Ashley Davies would be with you right now and not out shopping with that dreadfully wholesome Spencer Carlin and some Muse!" Alazzar glared at the girl in front of him, thoroughly disappointed in her. When he had picked her to handle this for their council, he knew a few of the other Supervisors had serious doubts about Madison. While she was good at her job and determined, she suffered from a serious case of overinflated ego, which, while quite common on the Dark council, tended to make her a procrastinator and over confident to the point that often she got in her own way of succeeding.
"Don't worry, Alazzar. I have this handled. She might be spending all her time with goody-goody Carlin now, but next week when we get to take her out with us, I know she'll choose the Dark Path. I see it in her. I've read her file backwards and forwards. Ashley Davies will be bored to tears on the Light Assignments. Ashley is a Dark Fate and a few good deeds won't wipe that away," Madison answered with a confidence she didn't entirely feel.
Alazzar's eyes burned a deep red as he stood up forcefully from his chair, hands firmly on the desk in front of him as he leaned across and glared into the startled eyes of the Dark Fate in front of him, her blasé attitude finally snapping the last ounce of his self control.
"!YOU HAVE IT HANDLED?" he bellowed with a force so loud it sounded as if the door to Hades had opened up behind him and all the lost souls where wailing and screaming along with his voice.
Madison shrank back in her chair, truly terrified of her Supervisor. It was like a burning smack across her face. She'd made a few mistakes, but normally she was let off lightly. This time, she knew there would be nothing less than banishment for her failure. For the first time in as long as she could remember, Madison felt her blood run cold with fear. In desperation to prove that she hadn't been slacking, she blurted out the first thing she could think of to try and gain some footing back with her boss.
"Spencer has a thing for her assignment, Ashley Davies. More than friendly feelings towards her. I've been observing them to get the proof I need to bring to you and the council."
The dark, burning red in Alazzar's eyes dimmed slightly as shock flashed across his face, replaced by a smile so devious is would have made Lucifer proud. He looked like a kid who had just received all the test answers to every final exam he had to take. "Are you sure, Madison? Because this is a very serious accusation to make and without proof, is completely irrelevant." Alazzar sat back down and seemed to relax, giving the Latina an appraising look. "Without proof that the pride of the White Council has actually acted on these feelings, then they are just silly rumors, Madison."
"I'm working on it. I've been doing this for a long time, Alazzar, and if there is one thing I know, it's how people trying to hide a guilty secret act and Carlin is hiding something. Trust me, I'll find out what it is." Madison sat up straighter in her chair, sure that she had been able to avert a crisis for the time being.
"Well you better, Madison, because if Ashley Davies decides to take the Light Path, then there will be serious repercussions for you, do you understand? If Spencer Carlin has entered into a more then mentoring relationship with Ms. Davies, then you had better get me some solid proof, ASAP. Do you understand?"
Yes, maybe he had misjudged her, but regardless, she still needed to be shown that her failure to have any proof to her accusations or lack of making any headway with the Davies girl still had to be punished.
"Don't worry, Alazzar. I've got this covered." Feeling some of her bravado coming back, Madison smirked at Alazzar.
"So you seem to think, but in all actuality, you don't, Madison. You have proven to be entirely too relaxed when given such an important assignment. Perhaps a day at the mall will instill the sense of urgency you are clearly lacking."
Ordinarily, a day at the Mall sounded like a great day to Madison, but the look on her Supervisor's face told her that she wasn't in for a fun filled day of shopping and a manicure and pedicure. Her stomach sank as Alazzar opened a portal and gestured for her to step through it.
The portal was as tall as Madison, touching the ground while angry red and dark grey light swirled around in it. The sound of high winds filled the vortex. Madison hated traveling by portal. It took less than a second, but in that time she had no control over what happened to her. And above all else, Madison was a control freak. Throwing her shoulders back and holding her head up high despite the pounding of her heart, she stepped through the portal and out the other side.
Ashley was annoyed. She had spent the entire afternoon pacing around Spencer's room, anxiously waiting for the blonde to get back, and when she finally had, she had Glen in tow. Ashley didn't mind the blonde reaper. Quite the opposite, but she was dying to know what had happened with Spencer's supervisor. The Light Fate had refused to meet her eyes, looking everywhere but at Ashley as Glen excitedly grabbed Ashley's hand, saying there was a can't miss event happening down at the mall. She didn't want to go to the mall. She wanted to stay there and find out what was going on because this wasn't just about Spencer. It was about her as well, and she knew it. If someone had found out about what she could do and had told Spencer's superiors, well she didn't know exactly what would happen, but Spencer made it seem like it would be bad, especially for them. Being separated from Spencer was the worst thing she could imagine at that moment. The Light Fate was the only thing that had kept her from completely losing it since finding out about her new existence.
She didn't understand why Glen kept shaking his head, laughing as they drove to the mall. It had better be good, she thought, because she needed to speak to Spencer to know that everything would be okay, and if not, how they could fix it.
The only acknowledgment she had received from Spencer since seeing her again was a weak smile and if it was meant to be reassuring it had the complete opposite effect on Ashley's already frayed nerves. She knew something was up, but Spencer seemed in no hurry to tell her what it was.
Finally, they arrived at the Mall, though Ashley couldn't figure out what was so important that Glen had to drag them out there to see it. The only thing she knew was that it had to do with Madison, and truth be told, she couldn't care less about anything having to do with the Dark Fate.
"Oh my God, you have to see this!" Glen laughed as he ran ahead of the two girls to the Mall entrance. "Trust me, this is GREAT!"
Ashley shot Spencer a questioning look, who only shrugged in reply and quickly followed after her brother. Ashley had no choice but to pick up her pace and follow along. A fact that was really grating on her nerves, Ashley Davies had never been a follower. People had always followed her around, but here on the In Between she was always following along. Just once, she'd like to know what the hell was going on around her.
A large crowd had gathered around the front of the main fountain in the Mall. The loud roaring of laughter could be heard as they approached. Glen was so excited he was practically bouncing as he grabbed Spencer's hand and pushed his way to the front. Spencer quickly reached back and grabbed Ashley's hand so that she wouldn't lose the girl within the laughing mob.
Glen pushed his way to the front, pulling Spencer and Ashley with him until they had a front row view. Spencer tried to cover the laugh that burst from her as a cough but Ashley had no problem openly laughing at the sight in front of them. She quickly forgave Glen for postponing the talk she needed to have with Spencer. This was so worth it.
In front of the Fountain, dressed in a full clown costume and make up, was Madison, singing the Willy Wonka 'Oompa Loompa' song, complete with the dance. Next to her was a little dwarf looking man with skin the color of burnt, red clay. Whenever Madison would stumble over her oversized clown shoes or forget the lyrics to the song, he would throw a cream pie in her face. A large sign next to her proclaimed, 'Pride Goeth Before Destruction.'
Standing next to the girls, Glen was laughing so hard he snorted. "Looks like someone was a bit too full of themselves!" Ashley laughed with him, amazed to see the cocky Dark Fate brought down a bit. It wasn't that she was into watching someone else suffer, well not always, but she was a firm believer that some people never learned without drastic intervention and it looked like Madison was getting that in spades, or in this case, a big, red nose, funny pants, and cream pies.
Spencer silently agreed with Glen, but only smiled. While she couldn't stand the arrogant Dark Fate, she still felt a tiny bit bad for her. Public humiliation was never fun, especially when dealt out by a Demon. They had a knack for knowing exactly the perfect way to get their points across, which was always the worst way for the person on the receiving end.
The crowd roared again with laughter again as the little man sprayed Madison with a bottle of seltzer water for pausing to glare at a Reaper who had thrown a few pennies at her. The water squirted out and hit her straight in the face, causing some of her make up to run. Her hair hung in stringy clumps around her face. Spencer had to hand it to the Latina. Despite the utterly humiliating situation she was in, she never seemed to lose that arrogant, defiant look in her eyes. Alazzar might punish her, but he would never break the proud Dark Fate. Of that, Spencer was sure.
In the back of the crowd, leaning against a pillar, Gauge stood with his arms crossed, watching the spectacle before him. If the fact that his girlfriend was being humiliated in front of everyone bothered him, his bored expression didn't give any indication. The Afterlife was a pretty straight forward thing for him. He didn't feel the need to grovel, brag or act like he was the best thing to ever hit the Dark Council in order to climb the corporate ladder like Madison. He did his job and he was damn good at it. He had a good time, did what was expected of him, and stayed under the radar that way, which was how he liked things. It was the people with the naked ambition that caught the attention of the Higher Beings. Those were the people who had to answer to others and face the consequences when they couldn't deliver on the promises they had made with their over exaggerated sense of self importance. Gauge was perfectly content to sit back and allow all those people to hang themselves when they failed to live up to expectations while he just flew under the radar, onto bigger and better things. After a few minutes he turned and walked away, not even giving Madison a second glance. 'Maybe it was time to explore other avenues,' he mused.
They'd been standing there for a while, watching Madison make an ass out of herself and while it was enjoyable, Ashley finally needed to get to more pressing matters. Specifically, why Spencer seemed determined to hold her off for as long as possible to tell the undecided Fate how her meeting had gone. Glen was still enjoying the show, by now having met up with a few of his friends, leaving Ashley the perfect opportunity to make an escape with Spencer.
"Spence." Ashley gently grabbed the blonde's elbow. Spencer turned around, her blue eyes glancing down first to Ashley's hand on her elbow, then up into the questioning brown eyes. Even though Spencer hadn't said a word, Ashley quickly dropped her hand back to her side. Something had flashed in those blues eyes that made her feel uncomfortable. Something in that quick look made her stomach knot up and her heartbeat speed up in a way much different from the usual way Spencer made her pulse quicken.
"Can we get out of here? I really want to talk to you." Ashley wasn't sure why she was feeling so unsure. She hoped she was only being paranoid, but Spencer had been acting off all afternoon and she needed to know what the deal was.
Spencer looked down for a split second. She seemed to be trying to come up with another excuse, another distraction, but finding none, she nodded her head. They both walked out the exit and towards Spencer's car.
They had barely gotten out there before Ashley start bombarding the Light Fate with questions.
"What happened? Do they know anything?" Ashley anxiously asked, all her fears coming out in a rush.
"Everything's fine, Ashley. No need to worry," Spencer reassured the scared girl. She wasn't technically lying, just avoiding answering directly. "Look, let's go back to the dorms and we can talk." Spencer looked around at the few other people milling around the parking lot.
Ashley followed her gaze, understanding that there were things they couldn't talk about in the open and silently jumped in the car. Despite Spencer's comforting words, she couldn't help feel that there was a lot more going on. She only wished she could figure it out.
"Ashley, there is nothing to worry about," Spencer offered for what felt like the hundredth time since they had gotten back to her dorm room. She pulled the shorter girl next to her closer on the couch, wrapping her arms around her and burying her face into the crook of her neck. A small part of her felt bad for trying to distract the confused girl, but she afraid that any more questioning by Ashley and she would crack.
The problem was she wasn't even sure what she could tell her. While they weren't in trouble, the stakes had gotten significantly higher since Spencer had talked to her mother. If it was found out that they had crossed the line between friendship to something more, Spencer had no doubt the repercussions would be severe. The least of those being them separated from each other.
Ashley wanted to believe Spencer but the blonde was being evasive. She could feel it. Pushing her hadn't worked so Ashley decided to let to be for now. 'At least until I get a better idea of what she's trying to hide.'
Besides, it was quite hard to think clearly when Spencer was nipping on her neck. Who would have thought that sweet little Spencer Carlin, pride of the Light Council, was quite the make out queen? Ashley moved so that her lips could meet Spencer's. It started off light and relaxed but quickly ignited into a heated kiss leaving them both breathless. Ashley let her hands roam under Spencer's thin top, pulling back to pull it over the blonde's head and tossing it on the floor. The Light Fate was quick to respond and soon Ashley's shirt joined hers. Ashley pushed Spencer back on the couch, so that she was lying on top of her, their legs intertwined. Her lips burned trails down Spencer's neck and chest, eliciting little cries of pleasure from the blonde that made Ashley's head spin with want. Feeling bold, she moved her hand over Spencer's smooth stomach and along the edge of the pants Spencer was wearing.
This time there was no interruptions, no one knocking on the door, no cellphones going off, no one to stop what was happening. No one, that is, except Spencer.
"Hey, what the…" Ashley exclaimed with surprise as she felt Spencer push her back. It wasn't harsh but it was firm enough that Ashley got the hint. Sitting up with a pout, Ashley looked down at Spencer. Her face was flush, she was breathing heavy, her hair was a mess, and she looked more beautiful than the brunette had ever seen her look before.
Blue eyes looked up at her, filled with confusion and regret. "Ash…" Spencer started but didn't know how to continue.
"Too soon?" Ashley asked, hoping it wasn't because of something she'd done.
"No…it's just that…" Spencer took a deep breath, composing her thoughts, which was hard to do with a half dressed Ashley straddling her. "It's just that, I want our first time to be after all of this is over. When we don't have to sneak around. When I'm not supposed to be helping you make the biggest choice of your Afterlife."
Ashley slide off Spencer and sat on the couch next to her, grabbing her shirt off the floor and quickly putting it back on. Spencer sat up, lightly touching Ashley's arm. "Ash, I do want to be with you, but it's complicated right now."
"No, I get it, Spence. It's fine," Ashley coolly answered. The Light Fate's words made sense but she couldn't help feel rejected nonetheless. "I got carried away. Being with you is the only thing that makes any sense to me in this place, but I get what you're saying." She didn't want to admit it, but the blonde had a valid point, even if it was frustrating. Ashley wasn't the most patient person, and the less freaked out she felt, the more her old self was starting to come back to her.
"Do you? Because I do care about you, Ash, a lot, but I want to go about this the right way." Spencer gently stroked Ashley's arm. "I've already made some bad choices in the past when it's come to relationships and I don't want to make the same with us."
A disbelieving laugh was heard from the brunette, "You? You've made bad choices? I find that hard to believe. In the couple weeks I've been here even I can see that you're basically the poster child for Light Fates, Spence." It didn't take a genius to see how the others all looked up to Spencer. Even Ashley had noticed that. Almost every day at lunch someone was asking Spencer for advice or looking for any excuse to be around the popular Head Light Fate. Ashley felt as if she'd met almost every Light Fate in Los Angeles because they had stopped Spencer at one time or another to say hello while she'd been with her.
"Yes, Ashley, even I've made some really bad choices. Actually, if it wasn't for my Mother, I'm pretty sure I would have been demoted." Spencer hadn't planned on sharing this story with Ashley so soon but decided that if she expected the undecided girl to trust her, she had to show she trusted her in return.
"Oh, sounds serious," Ashley teased. "What did you do? Over sleep one day? Play hooky one day from work?"
"No, it was a lot worse than that. I betrayed my Council for a girl I thought I loved, but who was only using me." Spencer voice was low, tinged with remorse. Still, years later she hadn't truly forgiven herself for falling for Carmen's lies.
Sensing that this was a lot more serious than she thought, Ashley gently took Spencer's hand, holding it while the blonde recounted her biggest regret.
"I was dating this other Light Fate, Carmen." Ashley's eyes grew big with recognition of the name she'd heard a couple weeks ago that had affected the normally relaxed Spencer so negatively.
"We'd been together for about a year and it was all good at first. The only problem we really had was my mom thought she wasn't good enough for me, but that wasn't the first time I'd dated someone my mom wasn't thrill about." Spencer smiled a sad little smile and shook her head. "Anyways, we'd been together for awhile and things were good, or so I thought, but then Carmen started to change. It was little things at first, like not really seeming to enjoy her job. Then she started questioning what we were doing. She felt like no matter what we did, it never made a difference on the Mortal Plane. Then she just started missing assignments, so I would fill in for her, covering for her, hoping no one would notice." Ashley gently squeezed Spencer's hand supportively, allowing the blonde all the time she needed to relate the obviously painful story.
"More and more I noticed her hanging out with the Dark Fates, but I wanted to believe that she was just bored and maybe looking for a challenge, maybe trying to see if any of them felt the same way. I was trying to find an innocent reason. Then I saw her talking to Alazzar, one of the Demons, and I couldn't explain that away so easily. I should have told someone. I knew I should have, but I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. I truly loved her." The last line was whispered as Spencer looked far away, reliving her memory. "That night, I questioned her about it and she got mad at me, saying I was spying on her. I wasn't. I had been looking for her to see if she wanted to do something, but no matter what I said, it only mad her more upset. Then I don't know what happened, but she was so angry, she pushed me into the wall. When I tried to leave, she pushed me again, hard, knocking me into my dresser. I was stunned and she immediately tried to apologize but I told her to leave. I should have told someone right then but I didn't."
Ashley felt her temper rising at each word Spencer was saying, how dare anyone think to lay a finger on the girl sitting next to her. Ashley vowed she would get even in one way or another, regardless of how long it took; she had all the time in the world now.
"The next day she came over begging forgiveness, but it was over. I didn't want to see her anymore. The worst part though, was I stilled cared about her. I still felt the need to protect her, even after what she had done, so I never told anyone in my council about her meeting Alazzar. About a week later she was on an assignment. A guy was going to set off a bomb on a city bus. Instead of trying to talk the guy out of it, she agreed with the Dark Fate. Two dozen people died who weren't suppose to because she didn't do her job, because I didn't tell anyone what I saw." Tears started pooling in the corners of Spencer's eyes, making them even more impossibly blue. Not knowing what to say, Ashley reached over and held the upset girl close, like Spencer had done for her the first night she'd been there.
"Spence, you couldn't have known. There was no way you could have known." Ashley hated seeing Spencer upset. It upset her more than her own situation upset her, which came as a bit of a shock to Ashley since she had always considered herself a pretty selfish person except when it came to her sister.
"I knew there was something going on, that something wasn't right, but I let my feelings blind me to what was going on, Ashley. Those people died before they should have because it would have been easy to change his mind. The file even said so. The very same day, Carmen flipped over to become a Dark Fate, a Head Dark Fate. The Dark Council transferred her to Chicago with another Dark Fate, Alexandria, who I learned she had been cheating on me with."
The more she heard about this Carmen girl, the more Ashley really didn't like her. She hoped for the Dark Fate's sake she never ran into her. It wouldn't be a pleasant experience for the traitor who had broken Spencer's heart.
"After it all happened, I told my Mom. She's the Head of the Department of Morality. She had no choice but to tell the council. They wanted to demote me immediately but she convinced them to give me another chance considering my spotless record up until that point. I've been proving myself to her and them ever since."
There was a long silence as Ashley processed everything she'd just heard. Not only was Spencer's mother also here on The In Between, but she was the Head of the Department of Morality, which sounded like a pretty big deal.
"Sounds like you have some pretty high expectations set on you," Ashley mused, finally understanding how much pressure Spencer felt on a daily basis. 'No wonder she's so freaked about us. Not only has she gotten hurt before, but I can see how this wouldn't look the best if it got out.'
"You don't know the half of it. She's constantly watching me. I feel like she's waiting for me to mess up again. That's why I want to wait, Ashley. I don't want to have to watch myself around you. I want to be with you, but in the open with no secrets." Spencer lightly kissed Ashley. "I want to be able to kiss you without feeling like I'm doing something wrong because the last thing I feel is that anything about us, about this, is wrong. Others, unfortunately, wouldn't agree given our current situation."
"Ok, I'll try to keep my hands off you until I make my choice, but it's going to be pretty damn hard, Carlin. You're irresistible to me."
"I never said you had to keep your hands off me. We just need to go slow until afterwards. I don't want to give up the way I feel when I'm with you. When we're together, like this." Spencer looked at their intertwined hands. "I'm more alive than I have in a very long time, Ashley."
"What makes you think I'll be ok being your dirty little secret?" Ashley quirked an eyebrow at the blonde, causing her to blush.
"Well if you'd rather wait another…" Spencer glanced at the calendar hanging over the T.V. "39 days…"
"As if!" Ashley laughed, calling the blonde's bluff by quickly kissing her. "No, I understand. We'll go slow and keep it private for another 39 days."
"Thanks. I feel bad having to ask." Spencer felt a knot in her stomach instead of the relief she thought she'd feel after explaining the Carmen situation to Ashley. She knew she still had a lot to tell Ashley, but after everything she'd confessed tonight and the day she'd had, she was too emotionally drained to worry about it tonight. 'Soon I'll tell her about the promotion and everything else.' Spencer promised herself. Right now, all she wanted to do was hold the brunette in her arms and relax the rest of the night.