I don't own SoN. I do take credit for the storyline and any original characters.
Thank you for those who reviewed and stayed with me on this long ride. Thank you to those who read this and enjoyed it.
This is the end of Wash It All Away, I had a blast writing this and even more so sharing it.
Flashbacks are in italics.
- 66 - Hope You've Enjoyed Your Stay
Graduation day should've been one of the happiest moments in my life. A step into the new world and shedding my teenage days behind me. Part of that was true. I was getting ready to go to Quebec for three months and though I looked forward to it, I no longer looked forward to a future beyond my hockey career.
I fiddled with my cap and gown as Sammy settled next to me in a seat. "How are your nerves?"
I shrugged. I didn't really have much to say.
I couldn't help but lean forward and catch the eyes of Ashley. I couldn't help but burst into tears when she looked away quickly.
Why was she pulling away? I knew she loved me. I knew she wanted to be with me. What was she so scared of?
"Spence," Alex came up and squeezed between Sammy and I, "it's going to be okay."
"I," I hiccupped and shook my head, running out of the school yard and into the school. I couldn't very well go up, say a speech and accept my diploma when I was blotchy and watery eyed.
Damn Ashley Davies.
I heard the bathroom door open and quickly wiped my face before catching her reflection in the mirror. "Don't you even try and comfort me, Davies." I turned around and gave her a cold look.
"Spencer," she pleaded.
"No!" I walked past her and wrenched the door open but she grabbed me and blocked the door. "Move." I ordered.
"Just listen to me." Ashley said, standing straight.
"You think I won't remove you myself?" I argued quietly, frowning. "I'm not afraid to touch you if it means moving you to get the hell away from me. You have no right to come in here and comfort me after breaking everything off!"
Her head hung slightly and she sighed heavily. My heart broke because at that moment all I wanted to do was comfort her even though I was the one hurting. But I got over the urge to do so. "I know I hurt you Spencer and I'm sorry okay?"
"Unless you're here to tell me you've made a mistake and you want to try and work us out, I suggest you move, Ashley." I stepped forward again and she didn't budge. She didn't say a word. "Move." I whispered gravely.
Ashley chewed on her lip as tears spilled from her eyes, mirroring my own. I managed to move her by squeezing past her and running down the hall.
I found my seat again and Sammy squeezed my hand. I looked back at my parents and found Carmen sitting with them, smiling at me. I smiled slightly and turned back to the Principal, who was about to call me on stage.
I made my way up, not even knowing how I was able to go up there without throwing up. Not because I was shy, but because I had to look every Graduate in the eye and I was scared I'd cave once my eyes hit those warm chocolate brown ones. But I tried to be strong. It was my day as well and I didn't want it to be any more painful then it already was.
I cleared my throat and slightly tapped on the microphone. "Good afternoon graduates, faculty, family and friends. Today is the day we've all been looking forward too. Some would say they looked forward to it because it would mean a sense of freedom. Others would look forward to it because it's a sense of a big accomplishment. I honestly think graduation is just the beginning of what's to come," I looked down at my paper that I had written out and then crumpled it and tossed it to the side, earning myself a few whispers and gasps before I continued my speech, "I think the words I've written down don't really apply at the moment," I quickly glanced at Ashley before finding other faces to distract me.
"When I was little, all I wanted to do was play hockey, not much has changed," that earned me a laugh, "I didn't think having friends was necessary, except for Kyla," I looked at my best friend who was holding baby Anton in her arms while in her cap and gown, "she's given so much to me in this world that I wouldn't trade our friendship for anything. And then there are my parents, who pretty much let me choose how I wanted my future to go. My sister Alex, who stood beside me even though I was mean at most times and my big brother who rarely showed his face my Senior year, thank you Glen." I threw him a wink and he gave a thumbs up. "Aiden Dennison for giving me the opportunity to open my heart. You've always been there for me regardless of what was going on, thank you."
I took a deep breath and licked my lips before catching my breath. "Ashley," I looked at her as her head snapped up to look at me, "you've made this school year more bearable then you can ever imagine. Thank you for opening up to me and allowing me to see who you really are beneath the surface, you know I'll always love you." I laughed quietly and bit my lip before addressing the thousands of people staring at me. I continued on with my speech about how high school can change our lives; I thanked the faculty for putting up with us and congratulated my fellow classmates and wished them great success in their future.
After my speech, we all lined up to receive our diplomas, being called one by one. I was facing front knowing Ashley was right behind me. We talked about how we would've loved to go onstage and accept our diplomas together, but that was no longer an option. I turned around and looked at her, "I'm proud of you, no matter what happens from now on Ash, I'm proud of you."
"Spencer Carlin." My name was called and I took off down the aisle, hearing whistles and 'woots' coming from my family.
I took the rolled up piece of paper and smiled a little, placing my tassel on the opposite side of my cap. Ashley's name was called and I watched her walk down the aisle, no smile graced upon her face until she met my gaze.
I hurt so much inside yet I was so in love. She didn't want to be with me anymore. After everything we've been through since we met, she wanted to run the opposite direction. She was afraid to get in the way of my dreams. She didn't want me to follow her if it meant that I'd sacrifice everything I've worked hard towards.
Families scattered around the quad, congratulating other students and friends. I stayed back, leaning against a large tree and picked at the ribbon that was wrapped around my diploma. I felt someone shift beside me and I glanced over, squinting my eyes at the familiar figure.
"I'm proud of you too." Ashley said quietly, looking at the others in the crowd. Smiles graced upon their faces.
I nodded but didn't say anything, going back to closing my eyes.
"I'm leaving in two days."
"Great." I whispered but my heart was breaking all over again.
"I know we were going to spend the next two weeks together but my parents want me to fly with them back to Switzerland for a month." Ashley looked at me but I never looked at her.
"Every time you talk to me, it hurts that much more, did you know that?" I responded.
"Don't be." I pushed myself off the tree and bent down to pick up a neatly wrapped box. "This is for you."
"Spencer…" Ashley frowned and I avoided more eye contact.
"It's not much but you deserved something." I started to walk away and felt her hand on my wrist. "Ash, don't make this any harder." I whispered, turning around.
"I love you." Ashley cleared her throat and wiped tears from her eyes. "Spencer, I love you."
I shook my head. "I love you too, but sometimes love just isn't enough." I allowed my fingers to brush lightly along her arm and then tangled my fingers with hers. "Goodbye, Ashley."
I let go of her and sprinted across campus before reaching my family. Alex embraced me in a hug and whispered that everything would be okay.
I finished packing the last suitcase and sat on my bed. As soon as I got back from hockey camp, I was heading to York University. Despite the pain I was feeling, I was looking forward to the fact that I could finally have something to occupy my thoughts other than Ashley.
So I didn't leave for another week and half but I was eager to get out of Midtown, Ontario. I needed to breathe and this place was too full of memories. Good and bad but they still wanted to haunt me. I knew I haven't given myself time to heal at all but with a love like I had towards Ashley, I wasn't sure it'd ever heal completely if at all.
"SPENCER!" Alex screamed from downstairs and I made my way towards her voice.
"God you squawk like a screeching eagle." I mused and grinned to myself as she scoffed. "What do you want? I was busy being depressed."
"Someone's here to see you." Alex shoved me out the door and I raised an eyebrow at the vehicle that was sitting in my driveway.
A dark red 2006 Dodge Charger R/T.
"Where the hell did you get these wheels?" I asked the brunette driver and she threw me a sly smirk.
"Parents thought I could use one while driving to Quebec City," Carmen grinned and ran to the passenger side, "so grab your luggage, get your ass in the car and let's go."
I shook my head but smiled. "I can't."
"Why not?" Carmen raised an eyebrow. "Come on, Spencer. Ashley left this morning without a word. Why are you hanging out here beating yourself up?"
"I'm not even packed." I fibbed.
"Liar." Alex shook her head and I glared at her.
"My parents wanted to throw me a going away party."
"They're in Toronto until next month." Alex chipped in again and glared at her even harder.
"I can't leave Alex here alone."
"I'll be spending all of my time at Sammy's anyway."
"Out of excuses." Carmen smiled crookedly and pulled me towards my front door. "Let's grab your bags and blow this fucking town once and for all."
I grabbed Alex and kissed her forehead. "Be good and no letting Sammy get you pregnant."
"Ha." Alex rolled her eyes but I knew she was amused. "Go you sissy," she pushed me away and threw my last bag in the trunk. "I'll miss you."
"You too." I ruffled her hair and she let me without shrieking. "Please take care of yourself and write me!"
"Will do." Alex smiled and pulled back completely. "Kick some hockey ass!" She cheered and Carmen laughed, starting the vehicle.
"Yea?" She pressed her ear to my lips.
"If you speak to Ashley, tell her," I swallowed, "tell her whenever she's ready – I am."
Alex pulled back and her eyes began to water. "I've got your back, Spence."
"Ready?" Carmen smiled at me and I nodded.
I never looked back.
You are now leaving Midtown, hope you've enjoyed your stay!
The sign was bold and beautiful.
My father's story about him and my mom meeting up a couple years later gave me hope.
Hope that I was going to carry with me until I knew for a fact that Ashley and I were not meant to be.
If every night could be like that for the rest of my life, I wouldn't care what the world threw at us during the day, as long as I was with Spencer when it was all said and done.
I couldn't survive properly without her. I'd find that out sooner then I would've liked.
I couldn't survive properly without her.
I'd find that out sooner then I would've liked.
Sometimes you just have to take with the world hands you, regardless of what your perfect night should be like.
- - - -
I stared at the package in my passenger seat, wrapped in blue paper. It had been sitting there for a week and I had yet to open it. Scared that it'd make me crack and I knew I couldn't crack.
My parents made a stop in Sault Ste Marie and I leaned against my mustang. They had some friends they wanted to visit and the day visit turned into a week visit. I was bored but they wouldn't let me go on ahead of them so I stayed around the hotel.
I opened the passenger door and lightly ran my fingers over the smooth wrapping before picking it up. I shook it and caught the faint smell of Spencer.
I was scum.
She knew I was going to run.
She knew it and she tried to stop me.
I swallowed and peeled back the tape on one end of the box before doing the same movement on the others. I successfully got the paper unwrapped without ripping any of it and folded it neatly. Opening the box, tears immediately spilled from my eyes as her Rebels black and red jersey stared back at me. The large white letters of CARLIN jumped out at me and I couldn't help but trace the lettering with my fingers. I held it up to my nose and inhaled before burying my face in it, crying hard.
I pulled it out fully and found a small card at the bottom.
All I Ever Needed Was You.
I tossed the jersey back in the box and ran to the driver side, turning on the vehicle and throwing it into drive. I peeled out of the expensive hotel's parking lot and made my way back down the long highway.
Back to her.
We could figure something out. I was being pitiful and selfish. Spencer definitely deserved more than that.
I sent my mom a text telling her I'd call her once I reached Aunt Greta's.
I don't even remember when I hit the town exactly. I just remember parking out in front of the Carlin's and turning off my vehicle. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, eyeing up Spencer's CRV. My heart thumped in my chest and I stepped out, slowly making my way up to the front door. I rang the doorbell once and straightened out my skirt.
I was met with surprised grey eyes. "Ashley." Alex breathed and looked me up and down before blinking. "What are you doing here?"
"Uh," I cleared my throat and peeked over her shoulder slightly. I was reminded of the night I went to see Spencer to confess my undying love and Alex was being all protective, not letting me off the hook easy. "Is Spencer here?"
Alex blinked again and slowly shook her head. "No," she licked her lips, "she's um, she's in Quebec City."
I frowned. "But," I turned to point at her vehicle, "her vehicle."
"Yea, about that," Alex swallowed and looked down at her feet before her eyes captured mine, in a sad glance, "she uh, she caught a ride with Carmen."
Was the earth crumbling beneath my feet, ready to swallow me whole?
No. That'd be too easy.
"But aren't they early?" I whispered.
"Spencer needed to get away." Baby C shrugged and gave me an apologetic smile. "It's been a week Ash, none of us had heard from you."
"I know." I hung my head. "I gotta go."
"Wait," Alex grabbed my shoulders and glanced over her shoulder before looking back at me, "Spencer wanted me to tell you something."
I stood there, feeling numb.
"She said that when you're ready, she will be too."
I sighed heavily, tears threatening to fall. Spencer was with Carmen and even though she wasn't with Carmen, she was gone.
"Clearly." I whispered and leaned forward, kissing Alex's cheek. "Don't be a stranger."
Alex frowned. "Likewise."
I slid back into my mustang and pulled Spencer's jersey onto my lap before taking one last long look at the Carlin home. I memorized every detail in my brain along with every single memory and locked them away safely.
I drove towards the outer parts of the city and turned on my music. Sunglasses were perched on my nose as the sun was shining annoyingly down on me; mocking my pain; mocking my huge mistake of walking away in the first place.
I glanced at the sign that I was about to pass and wanted to snort and cry at the same time.
You are now leaving Midtown, hope you've enjoyed your stay!
Points Underneath - WIAA Sequel