Title: Growing Up (Falling Down) 1/23
Disclaimer: I don't own South Of Nowhere. But I wish I did.
Summary: The end of high school is only the beginning of the rest of their lives…(OMG, I'm so lame. cringe)
Chapter 1 - I Want To Know Your Plans.
The sound, Ashley imagined, of what a walrus giving birth with a blocked nose sounded like, is what she woke too.
Groaning she rolled over to face her clock. 11:12am. Who in their right mind would be awake at that hour? With the noise still echoing through the loft, Ashley knew that any attempt to return to her dream, where she and Spencer were frolicking naked in a cloud of cotton candy, would be useless. Faced with no other option, she got out of bed.
"Kyla!" She had to shout to be heard above the din. "What the hell is this crap?"
Kyla, unfazed, maintained her cross-legged position on her yoga mat. "Whale sounds, they're very soothing. Good for meditation."
"They're also good for pissing me off," Ashley grumbled, aggressively hitting the stop button on the stereo. She took a moment to soak in the glorious silence before addressing her sister. "What's wrong? You've been meditating more than usual this week."
Sighing, Kyla stood and stretched herself out before heading to the kitchen to fix Ashley her coffee. "I'm worried about Aiden," she confessed.
"Why?" Ashley snorted, she had found her life had much improved with out the meddling boy in it.
"Because I haven't heard from him in like a week, ever since he left to go to his family's holiday house. He said that he needed to," She busted our the air quotes. "get himself squared away." She rolled her eyes at Aiden's cryptic words. "Whatever that means."
"Maybe he decided to join the army," suggested Ashley, smirking mischievously. "Hey, if he's as invincible as her thinks he is, he'd have a bright future as a human shield." Ashley hadn't been able to keep herself from laughing when Kyla had told her about Aiden's Superman delusions. As if Aiden Dennison was anywhere near cool enough to be Superman. He wasn't even cool enough to be Superman Prime and that douchebag killed Superboy.
"That's not funny, Ash! I don't know how you can make jokes about this. Aiden's your friend too."
"If you say so," Ashley said, wrapping her hands around the warm mug her sister had just placed before her.
"I'm just saying, now that he's not constantly hanging around and I've had some time and space to think about it, Aiden really isn't the great guy we all pretend that he is and he really wasn't a very good friend to me." Taking a long sip of her coffee, Ashley took a moment to phrase her thoughts in a way that Kyla could understand. "After Dad died, I was so desperate not to lose anybody else, so I let Aiden's shitty behavior slide because I was so scared of pushing him away, and that's my fault, I know. But he totally took advantage of that. If he was such a good friend and amazing guy he never would've done what he did at prom."
Ashley held up a hand, effectively silencing her sister's protest. "Please don't make excuses for him, Ky. I think that we've all been doing that for way too long. You know, Spencer and I weren't the only ones he screwed over at prom. He hurt you too. And did he ever apologize for any of it? Because he sure as hell didn't say sorry to me." No, he was too busy blaming her for everything that had ever gone wrong in his life. "And I think that you're wasting your time worrying about him when you could do so much better."
"Better like who?"
Ashley shrugged, it's not like she had anyone in particular in mind, she was just trying to make a point. "I don't know. Glen? Maybe?"
"Ew!" Kyla nearly spat out her herbal tea. "I'd rather not date someone else who's already taken a dip in Madison's pool."
"Well, that pretty much rules out the entire male population of the city."
"I heard that," Madison declared, walking in like she owned the place.
Ashley jumped in surprise, spilling some of her delicious beverage on herself. I guess it is true, speak of the devil and she will appear. "Don't care," she drawled, recovering quickly. "How did you get in?"
"Kyla gave me a key." Madison tossed her oversized (seriously, she could fit a small horse in that thing) purse onto the counter, barely missing Ashley's head.
"Of course she did," Ashley breathed, glaring at her sister who had suddenly found the bottom of her mug very intriguing. "Okay, second question, why are you here?"
Madison stared daggers at her. "We have to be in the studio in an hour, we're recording my demo today. I figured you'd forget, so I-"
"I didn't forget! Ashley snapped. Yes, she had. "Kyla just distracted me, that's all."
"Whatever," said Madison, rolling her eyes and shoving Ashley off her stool. "Go and get changed, if I must be seen with you in public it's certainly not going to be in that." She huffed and muttered, "Lesbians," under her breath.
Ashley looked down at her white beater and plaid pajama pants. "These are my pajamas, numbnuts!" Highly offended, she flounced off to her bedroom without waiting for a reply.
Once she was gone, Madison turned her attention to the younger Davies sister. "So, Glen, huh?"
Kyla groaned and buried her face in her hands. "I'm going to kill her for this."
After a long three hour day at work, the last thing Ashley needed was to come home to a houseful of strangers and yet that was what she was confronted with as she walked through the door. "Kyla!" she yelled, when she couldn't see her sister among the group of strangers sitting around her kitchen table, eating HER cereal.
"Ashley," Kyla chastised, emerging from her bedroom. "Stop yelling, you'll scare them."
"Oh no," Ashley gasped, her hand flying up to cover her mouth. "Can't have that! Who the hell are they?"
"Homeless people, from the shelter."
Ashley slapped a hand to her forehead. "No! No, no. Ky, not again. You promised me! No more bringing home strays. These are people, Kyla, not dogs, you can't just-" She paused as one of the girls got up to refill her bowl. "Is that my top? You're letting them wear my clothes?"
"Their clothes are being washed," Kyla explained, calmly. "Would you rather they walk around naked?"
"I'd rather they not be here." Okay, calm down Ashley, count to ten. Honestly, she had been trying to be a better person and all but her sister insisted on testing her newfound patience. "Okay, you know what, I'm going to go to Spencer's and when I get back, they are not going to be here. Understand?"
Kyla could see that she had obviously pushed her big sister just a little too far. "They'll be gone, I swear."
"I'd forgotten how hot you are when you're being all studious," Ashley purred, leaning against the doorframe in Spencer's room.
Spencer jumped in surprise, quickly stuffing her reading material under her pillows. "Ash! Hi! How did you get in here? I didn't hear the door."
"Your mom got home just before I got here, I helped her bring the groceries in," Ashley explained, gently smiling at how easily her girlfriend got flustered. "What are you hiding under there?" she teased as she joined Spencer on the bed.
"Nothing!" the blonde squeaked, trying to protect what she had stashed under the pillows, but Ashley was quicker and got to it first.
"And what do we have here?" Ashley laughed, holding the magazine high above her head so Spencer couldn't reach it. Had she just caught innocent little Spencer Carlin looking at porn? The thought filled her heart with glee.
"Ash, give it back." Spencer made a grab for it and came up with nothing but air as Ashley skipped to the other side of the room.
"Emerson University?" Ashley frowned as she read the cover of the magazine. "As in, Emerson in Boston? Uh, Spence?" She looked to her girlfriend for what she hoped was a simple explanation.
Spencer squirmed uncomfortably, biting her bottom lip. This was not how she wanted to break the news. "I got accepted."
"That's awesome, why didn't you tell me?"
Spencer sighed, pulling Ashley back down onto the bed by her hand. "Because I didn't want you to get upset."
"And why would I get upset?" Ashley asked cautiously. She did not like where this was going at all.
"Because I'm seriously thinking about going."
Ashley was up off the bed in a shot. "To Boston? I thought you'd already decided on UCLA!"
"No, you just assumed that I'd decided on UCLA."
"I can't believe this." God, it was hard enough to keep their relationship stable while they were both in the same city and now Spencer wanted to move to freaking Boston? "Are you serious?"
Spencer nodded, looking down at the course magazine Ashley had abandoned on the bed. "Emerson is a great liberal arts college, perfect for what I want to do-"
"So is UCLA!" Sean had told her so. "And you won't even have to move."
"But Emerson is my first choice," Spencer admitted quietly.
That took the wind out of Ashley's sails. "I don't want you to go," she said glumly, dropping back down on to the bed. Spencer put a comforting hand on her knee.
"But that doesn't change anything. Does it."
Ashley nodded, swallowing hard. Now this was just the cherry on top of a perfect day. Woken up early by whale music, having to spend half the day with Madison, coming home to find it overrun by homeless people and now her girlfriend was telling her that she wanted to go to school on the other side of the country and there was nothing she could do about it. "I'm gonna go."
"I'll call you later."
Kyla had better have those moochers out of my house, Ashley thought as she parked behind a police cruiser. Although she'd calmed down considerably since leaving Spencer's, she still wasn't in the best mood and anything could tip her over the edge.
"Hey, Ky," she greeted as she entered the loft. "There's a cop car downstairs, I wonder-" Kyla appeared from around the corner, looking unharmed, followed by a young police officer. "Why the hell they're in my apartment," she finished, gritting her teeth. "He had better be a stripper."
Kyla cringed and sheepishly shook her head. The handsome cop stepped forward and introduced himself. "Not exactly, although you'd be surprised how often I get mistaken for one. I'm Officer Jared Owens."
"Nice to meet you, now what the hell are you doing here?"
"Well, it seems as though you've had a bit of a burglary."
"A bit of a…" Ashley repeated, uncomprehendingly. "What'd they take?"
"Uh." Owens checked his notepad. "Cash, the plasma television you had in the living room and, according to your sister, the guitar that was on that stand over there. I don't suppose you know the make and mod-"
"910 Taylor Acoustic with a Sitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood sides and ebony inlay." I am going to kill whoever did this, slowly, then resurrect their corpses and kill them again.
"That's very helpful." Owens jotted it down in his notebook.
"How did this happen? I thought I told you to get rid of those homeless bums."
"I did!" Kyla squeaked. "I kicked them out and then went to Starbucks. I came home and the door was wide open, so I called the cops."
"There was no sign of forced entry," Owens added.
"I gave them a key," Kyla said in a small voice, hiding behind Officer Owens' broad back.
Sensing that the older brunette was about to bust a vein, Owens rushed on. "When the doorman downstairs questioned them about what they were doing, they explained that they were taking the items to be repaired. But the good news is that we have detailed descriptions of the suspects, so there's a good chance that we'll find them and you'll be able to get your belongings back. But I'm afraid the cash will probably be long gone." He flipped his notebook shut and tucked it back in his belt. "I'll be in touch with the police report for your insurance company and we'll let you know if anything turns up."
Kyla, anxious to keep as close to the protective presence of the LAPD as possible, led Officer Owens to the door. "And I was just telling your sister that you should be more selective in who you give keys to," he added.
"I'll keep that in mind," Ashley said, clenching her jaw.
Owens nodded and smiled pleasantly. "Well, you ladies have a good night and Kyla, don't forget about getting someone in to change these locks."
"I won't." Kyla closed the door and turned to face the music. "Ash, I am so sorry," she said tearily. "I'll buy you a new tv."
"It's not the tv I'm upset about, Kyla! I told you that something like this would happen and you ignored me. And they took my favorite guitar! It was Daddy's and he gave it to me for my birthday and there's no replacing that. God, I told you not to let those people into our house!"
"I know." Kyla hugged herself pitifully. "I keep screwing up but I honestly thought that I was doing a good thing. Please, don't hate me."
Ashley sighed, swallowing her anger as she watched her sister break down. Again. Kyla had been through a lot lately and Ashley knew, however misguided she was in her attempts, she was trying to be better. She stepped forward and pulled the smaller girl into a hug. "Ky," she mumbled into her hair. "You're my favorite illegitimate half sister and, for some inexplicable reason, I love you. But you are driving me absolutely freaking crazy."
"I know, I'm sorry." Kyla's voice was muffled against her sister's shoulder. "I'll do better, I swear. Just don't kick me out again."
"Don't worry, you're not going anywhere." I am.
"Okay, okay! I'm coming!" Spencer shouted. She had been in a foul mood ever since Ashley had left and now some inconsiderate ass was pounding on her door in the middle of dinner. She wrenched the door open, fully prepared to yell at whoever was on the other side when she came face to face with Ashley, who was grinning and bouncing excitedly on her heels. Considering how she'd left, this was most unexpected. "Ash, what's going on?"
"You and me, Boston. Let's do it."