I wrote this on Christmas Eve, and never posted it here, and I'm bored and figured I'd post it now, even though the mood is obviously not right, since it's July. First time I'm posting a Spashley fic on here, I usually just post my embarrassing OTH ones. As far as the timeline goes, It's towards the end of 3A, I guess, but Pride never happened? IDK, Ashden is over, Spangs is over, Spashley are just friends, Paula is whatever. Kyla is pretty normal too, so I'll say the Jake stuff never happened either. The title and song were basically just what I was listening to at the time, which was Bigger Than Love by My Favorite Highway, btw.

If there's a hole in your heart
You gotta pull it together
It takes the courage to start
But now is better than never

"This is really starting to get tedious," Ashley informs her half sister as she comes to the end of yet another aisle. She can hear Kyla groaning on the other end of the phone, but considering her situation, she feels no sympathy for the younger girl.

"Where are you now?"

"Target," the brunette replies with a cringe, the name leaving a bad taste in her mouth. She can't remember the last time she was in this department store, if ever.

"You cannot get Spencer's Christmas present from Target!" Kyla exclaims, beginning to think her sister was hopeless. Her mother gives her an amused look and shakes her head, leaving the room.

"Well, I'm seriously out of ideas, Ky." The girl had spent the past week going to every store she could think of in an endless pursuit to find the perfect gift for Spencer. Considering how much she fucked up, and how new their renewed friendship was at the moment, she felt like this present was extremely important, and she didn't want to ruin it. "I cannot believe that I just inherited millions of dollars and I still can't think of the perfect gift for my girlfriend."

"Ex-girlfriend," the younger girl corrects her, just to bug her. She thought she had escaped the madness when she finally left for Baltimore two days ago, but her sister had not left her alone since she got there. It was three days until Christmas, and she was only giving Ashley one more day of help before she was turning off her cell.

"Don't be a bitch," Ashley snaps, starting her venture towards the exit. She couldn't get out of there fast enough. "I'm serious here, Kyla. I have less than two days to find the perfect gift for Spencer. It has to be perfect. I can't even find an okay gift. That girl is impossible to shop for!"

"Less than two days? Christmas is in three days, Ash."

"I know, but Spencer and her family are going back to Ohio on Christmas Eve Day or whatever it's called," Ashley explains. "We're supposed to be exchanging gifts before she leaves."

"You guys aren't even spending Christmas together?" Kyla asks, surprised at the news. She would have invited Ashley to come back home with her if she had known that she was going to be alone on Christmas. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because you'd get all sisterly or something, I don't know." Ashley sighs as she finally gets out of the store, and sits down on the closest bench she can find. "Look, that is the least of my worries right now. Kyla! You're supposed to be helping me here! You're the sensitive and thoughtful one, last time I checked!"

"Why don't you write her a song, and then sing it for her?"

"That is so gay, I'm not doing that! Come on, stop messing around!"

"Calm down, jeez," Kyla instructs her, imagining the kind of scene her sister is causing at the mall. "Okay, sit down-"

"I am sitting down!"

"Okay, then just take a deep breath," she begins, following her own instructions and hearing Ashley do the same over the line. "Close your eyes and clear your head."

"I look like an idiot," the older girl tells her, fully aware that she's sitting in the middle of a crowded mall.


"Sorry, sorry."

"Clear your head," Kyla repeats pointedly, just waiting for Ashley to make another smart-ass comment. When she doesn't, Kyla continues, "Now, just think of Spencer. Think of everything you guys have been through this year, everything she has been through this year."

"This is depressing," Ashley can't help but remark. She knows Kyla is being serious and this is a serious situation, and she does take it seriously, but Ashley always needs to make jokes. She doesn't need to be reminded to think of the pain Spencer has been put through since knowing her, she never stops thinking about it. It's part of the reason why she needs this gift to be perfect. She hardly thinks it's going to make up for all of her mistakes, but she wants Spencer to know that she's changed, or at least is changing, and that she knows her and she loves her.


"I'm thinking about it, Ky," Ashley tells her quietly. "I always think about it."

"Okay," Kyla says just as softly, knowing it's a sensitive subject. "Now just think for a minute. Forget money, forget the mall, forget any store you've been to already, okay? If you could give Spencer anything in the world, what would it be?"

"Kyla, if I knew that, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"Oh my God, I'm hanging up now," Kyla cries, sick and tired of her sister's antics.

"Oh my God," Ashley mocks. "You're such a baby. Okay, I'm thinking. I'm thinking." Ashley shuts up and closes her eyes again, really thinking about Kyla's question. The first thing that pops into her mind is impossible, and for a moment she thinks the second one is too, but then she gets a brilliant idea. "Holy shit, Kyla, you've finally become useful!"

"You thought of something?"

"Yes!" Ashley cheers, jumping up and immediately speed walking in the direction her Porsche is parked. "Urgh, I can't believe I didn't think of this before. Okay, I have to go talk to Mr. C. Thanks for your help, Ky."

"Wait, wait, you're not even gonna tell me what it is?!" Kyla tries to get out before her sister hangs up. She sighs in frustration when she hears the dial tone and throws her cell onto the other end of the couch.

"Have I ever told you how much I've been dying to meet that sister of yours?" her mother teases from the doorway. Kyla rolls her eyes and laughs, used to Ashley's dramatics. She just hopes Ashley's brilliant stroke of genius doesn't end up the way most of Ashley's brilliant plans end up – blowing up in her face.

"Remind me again how you roped me into all this heavy lifting on my vacation," Sean questions as he repositions his end of the tree to get a better grip.

"Because you can't resist a cute blonde when she pouts," Spencer jokes as she watches Sean and the lot employee carrying the tree towards Sean's truck. "And because I picked you up from the airport last week in Ashley's Porsche, like you wanted. You owe me."

"Someone got a big head while I was away," the boy teases, enjoying giving the girl a hard time. He always treated her like a younger sister when he was over at the house with Clay, and he was happy that they had managed to maintain some sort of friendship even though Clay was gone and he was out of the State.

"Ashley tells me I'm cute all the time," Spencer reasons with a small smile, the smile that always seems to find its way onto her face when she talks of her former girlfriend.

Sean sees her smile, and can't help one of his own from forming. He was always rooting for those two crazy kids to work it out. He knew Ashley was a little rough around the edges, but he also knew how much she loved the blonde, and he didn't have any doubts that they'd find their way back to each other. "Who am I to argue with a millionaire teen queen?"

"Shut up and keep moving."

"Why isn't Aiden or Glen helping you with this?"

"Glen is at home packing," Spencer answers absentmindedly, more focused on the tree the boys were carrying, trying to decide if it was going to fit. "And I don't have the slightest clue what Aiden's been up to lately."

"Packing?" Sean huffs, sighing in relief when he spots his truck not to far away. "He didn't enlist in the army again, did he?"

"No, no," Spencer can't help but laugh, making herself stop stressing about the tree. "The family is going back to Ohio for Christmas like last year, and he always waits until the last minute to pack."

"If you guys are leaving, why are we buying this Christmas tree?" They finally stop just beside his truck and after some struggle, he and Billy, the helper assigned to them, manage to get it hooked up to the roof. After Billy leaves them be, Sean turns back to the blonde, waiting for his answer.

"I'm not going," she informs him with a smirk. "Chelsea is taking my place this year and it's just mom, dad, her and Glen going." Sean knows that smile from a mile away.

"And you're bringing this tree over to Ashley's loft," he finishes for her. He should have known.

"Yeah, but it's a surprise," she explains as they both hop inside the truck and buckle up. "Ashley thinks I'm leaving for the week in a couple of days, but I talked my parents into letting me stay behind." Sean glances over at her knowingly. "Okay, I talked my dad into letting me stay behind, and he said he'd talk to my mom about it. Anyway, Ashley has never really had a real Christmas before, and I wasn't there last year, so I wanted to surprise her by sneaking the tree into the loft during the night and then surprise her again with her real Christmas present – me."

"You, as in …" he trails off, not sure how to finish that sentence properly. He wiggles his eyebrows and when Spencer starts coughing, he knows she gets it.

"No, no," she immediately reassures him. "Me, as in, you know, my amazing company. Ash and I are just friends."

"Yeah, I'm so sure," the boy teases, slowly pulling out onto the road. "This whole little scheme doesn't really sound like something a friend does for another friend."

"We're best friends," Spencer stresses, knowing she isn't fooling anyone. "Like before."

"Girl, you and Ashley were never just best friends," Sean tells her, having a feeling he wasn't telling her something that she didn't already know. "You know it, I know it, everyone at school knew it. You're so hoping this turns into something more."

"The whole school?" Sean looks pointedly at her, and she sighs. "I don't know. She really, really hurt me, Sean. Not just with all that Aiden stuff, but she just ditched me after Clay died, that's what hurts the most. How can I trust her again after that? But … God, there are times when we're together now, and I just don't care about all of that. There's a part of me that just wants to forget all of it and start over again, you know?"

"I know."

"She's changed," Spencer states with absolute certainty. "I can see how much she's changed everyday. I mean, she's still the same old Ashley who makes a joke about everything, especially to avoid a serious conversation, but … She's just changed. And that part of me that wants to forget everything, says that's enough. She's apologized a lot for everything she's done and really, what else can she do, right? It's not like she can turn back time or anything."

"She's changed?"

"So much," she confirms. "She's so thoughtful now, she always calls me when she says she's going to. She's on time when we have plans, she tries so hard with my mom, and I know how much it kills her to be nice to her. She talks to me about her day and things that are bothering her, and she listens to me when I do the same." Spencer sees the way Sean is looking at her and knows what he's thinking. "I know those are all things that should be expected for a decent girlfriend, and they aren't things that should be rewarded, but I just mean that it all shows how much she's matured. Isn't that enough?"

"Only you can say when it's enough, Spence," he tells her sadly, wishing there were some kind of magic words he could give her to ease her conflict. He can see how much she's struggling with her feelings.

"I thought you were supposed to be all knowing," she pouts. "I need some advice here."

"Well, all I can say is … There's no weakness in forgiveness." Spencer knows what he means. She's forgiven Ashley, but she's afraid she's selling herself short by getting back together with her already. She feels like there's a certain set amount of time allotted for 'punishment' for offenses like Ashley's, but she doesn't care. All she's doing is punishing herself, too. She doesn't care what it looks like to other people. But there's still just something holding her back. She doesn't know what it is yet, but she hopes that it resolves itself quickly.

"Yeah," she nods, sadly. They drive in silence for a few moments before Spencer perks up again. "You know you're helping me sneak the tree into Ashley's loft on Christmas Eve, right?"

"Of course I am."

It's two days later and Ashley iss practically bouncing on the spot, waiting for Spencer to call or show up. The girl was supposed to be at her loft in five minutes, and the usually early blonde hadn't shown up yet. Ashley contemplates calling Kyla to bitch at her about it, but figures that she should give her sister a break – it was Christmas Eve after all.

The brunette checks her watch and groans when she sees that it's exactly twelve, and Spencer still isn't there. She knows that the Carlins' flight is leaving for Ohio at four, and she is really starting to get nervous. She had finally thought of something she knew was perfect, and she had practiced what she was going to say about a billion times, and now Spencer wasn't even gonna show up.

Before Ashley can start gnawing her arm off, she hears her iPhone ring. Leaping across the couch to get it, she checks the picture ID, and is relieved to see Spencer's adorable face staring back at her. "Spence, where are you? You're late!"

"It's just noon now," the blonde laughs, not knowing how crazy she's driving Ashley.

"Yeah, but you're always early!"

"Oh, well, sorry," she replies, watching from her place in her living room, as her family ran around making sure that they had everything.

"Are you on your way over?"

Hearing just how anxious Ashley sounds, Spencer starts feeling a little bad for having to do this, "I'm actually not gonna be able to make it. I'm still at home, and we're all running really late, and the flight was pushed up, so we have to get to the airport earlier than we thought."

"Oh," is all Ashley can say. All the giddiness and excitement immediately leaves her body at the words, and she slumps back against the couch. "How come you didn't come over earlier then? I've been up since like six."

Okay, Spencer is really starting to feel bad now. "I'm sorry, things have just been really hectic over here that I forgot all about our gift exchange until just now." She wishes she could take her words back the moment they leave her lips. She grimaces, dreading the sadness she'll hear in the other girl's voice.

"Oh," Ashley says again, sounding even more heartbroken than before, if that was even possible. "It's cool, I was just watching TV and noticed the time …"

"We'll get together when I come back, okay?" Spencer says, trying her best to sound casual and ignore the tugging at her heart at Ashley's tone. "I have a great gift for you."

"That sounds good," the older girl mumbles, suddenly feeling tears in her eyes. "I better let you go. Have fun in Ohio, Spence. And merry Christmas."

"Ashley," Spencer tries, but the other girl has already hung up. That had hurt a lot more than she thought it would, but she just has to keep reminding herself that she'll be making it up to her in a few hours.

"What if she's still awake?" Sean stage whispers, as he and Spencer stand outside the door to Ashley's loft. It's two in the morning, and after a half hour of fighting with the Christmas tree, they had finally managed to make it to their destination.

"I talked to Kyla before we left the house, and she said that Ashley told her she was heading to bed early," Spencer explains, praying that Kyla was reliable. She knew Ashley sometimes took a while to get ready for bed, but she had talked to the girl almost two hours ago, so she was pretty sure Ashley would be asleep by now.

"And you're sure she's not gonna hear us and like attack us with pepper spray or something?" Sean asks for a millionth time. "Because when a girl wakes up and finds a black dude in her apartment that wasn't there when she went to bed, she tends to shoot first and ask questions later. I'm just saying."

Spencer rolls her eyes and digs for the key Ashley had given her the month before. "Ash is a heavy sleeper and she tends to fall asleep with music playing. Trust me, we'll be fine."

"If you say so." Not waiting for instructions, Sean picks up the tree for its last leg of the journey and hauls it inside when Spencer finally gets the door open. Once he puts it in the spot Spencer tells him, the two of them start decorating it the best they can with the decorations they were able to bring.

"Thank you so much, Sean," Spencer gushes when they finish, throwing her arms around the boy. "You're a life saver, and helping me with this is the best Christmas present you could have ever gotten me."

"No problem, Spence," he assures her, squeezing her tightly before letting her go. She looks up at him with a bright smile and he can't help but ruffle her hair. "I know Clay would have helped you, so it was my honor."

Spencer's bright smile turns sad for a moment before she shakes her head, not wanting this moment or this night to be sad. She knows Clay wouldn't want that, so she tries to be happy when she thinks of him. Instead, Spencer gets on her tippy toes and kisses Sean on the cheek. "You're the best."

"If you really wanna repay me, you could tell Kyla that," he jokes, trying to lighten the mood. "Put in a good word for me." Spencer laughs and nods, playfully punching him in the arm.

"Sure thing," she promises. With one last hug, Sean heads out, leaving Spencer alone in the living room. She lets out a sigh and looks around, admiring the tree they had managed to set up in under an hour. She sees that it's only three and decides that the loft needs a bit more Christmas cheer. She grabs the extra lights from the box and begins streaming them up around the room.

The first thing Ashley thinks when she wakes up is that she must still be asleep, because she swears she's wrapped around the body she was just dreaming about. She slowly opens her eyes and can't believe the sight before her – Spencer is curled up in her arms, the back of her messy blonde head staring her in the face.

"Spence?" Ashley whispers, mostly to herself and not in an attempt to wake the younger girl. She blinks a few times, yet Spencer is still there. She twists around to get a look at her alarm clock and the bright red numbers tell her that it's ten in the morning. Knowing the time doesn't help her understand what Spencer is doing in her bed, wearing a pair of her boy shorts and one of her worn out Purple Venom concert tees, Ashley continues to try to figure this out.

"Mmm," Spencer purrs, as she slowly joins Ashley in the land of the living. She had planned on staying up after getting the lights put up, but when she had finished, she was too tired and too bored, and when she had gone in to turn off Ashley's music, the girl's bed looked far too inviting for her to resist. She can feel Ashley's eyes on her and she turns around in her arms, her sleepy smile spreading across her face. Her smile widens when she sees the shocked and confused look on Ashley's face, and the fact that despite that, the girl hasn't loosened her hold on her. Leaning up to kiss Ashley gently on the forehead, Spencer whispers, "Merry Christmas."

"But you're in Ohio," Ashley speaks dumbly, thinking this is all way too good to be true. She definitely has to be dreaming. "Or, you're supposed to be."

"My family is in Ohio," Spencer corrects her. "I'm in your clothes, in your bed, and in your arms. Right where I'm supposed to be."

Hearing those words, Ashley finally decides to stop questioning everything, at least for now, and snuggles back into the other girl, pulling the covers up around them. "I don't care if this is a dream, I'll worry about that in twenty minutes. Right now, we're just gonna cuddle, kay?"

Spencer giggles and agrees, as Ashley rolls over onto back, pulling Spencer to rest ontop of her.

Like the day before, a girl sits in the living room, practically bouncing with anticipation, but this time it's a blonde. After the girls spent another innocent sixty minutes in bed cuddling, Spencer had finally talked Ashley into getting up and showering, promising her that there was more surprises waiting for her.

After seeing Ashley's reaction in bed earlier, Spencer is even more anxious to see how she'll react to Christmas throwing up on her living room. Ever since the year before, when Ashley had told her that she'd never had a real Christmas, with real decorations, at least not that she could remember, Spencer had been planning to do this. They weren't dating yet this time last year, and her mother was a total Ashley Nazi, so there was no way she could have managed to stay home then, but this year, after she and Ashley were back on good terms, she knew she still wanted to go through with it. Christmas had always been her favorite holiday, and she wanted to share it with Ashley more than anything.

She hopes that they have many Christmases together in their future after this, and she wants to start it off with a bang. Spencer giggles to herself, knowing what kind of joke Ashley would have made there.

"What are you giggling about in there?" Ashley calls from her bedroom, coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her. She still cannot comprehend the fact that Spencer is sitting in her living room right now, or that she was just in her bed with her less than an hour ago. Just yesterday she had been convinced that this was going to be the worst Christmas in the history of bad Christmases, but it was turning out to be the best one ever.

"Nothing, just hurry up so you can see your next surprise!" Ashley does as she's told and quickly throws on some sweats and a hoody, figuring that formal wear isn't needed just yet. She has no idea what to expect when she walks out of her room, so she takes a moment to prepare herself. "Ash!"

"I'm coming! Jeez, woman!" Ashley calls as she finally steps out of her room. "You'd think I was taking …" The words die on her lips as she sets her eyes on the huge Christmas tree in the middle of her loft, decorated from head to toe, with a star on the top and everything. It takes her a moment to tear her eyes away from the tree and take in the sight of all the lights hanging from her ceiling and the mantles around the room. After a moment, her gaze finally lands on the nervous blonde who was now standing in front of the tree. "Spence …"

The taller girl feels a chill run down her spine at all the emotion she can hear in Ashley's voice. Just one word was all she needs to hear to know how much Ashley loves her surprise. Spencer watches as a million emotions flash across the brunette's face, and when she thinks she sees her eyes start to water, Spencer rushes across the room, launching herself into Ashley's arms.

Ashley hugs Spencer tighter than she can ever remember hugging her, lifting her clear off the ground, despite the fact that she's shorter. She can't believe that Spencer had done all of this for her, not after everything she had done to Spencer. She really doesn't know what she could have possibly done in another life to deserve the girl wrapped around her, but she's eternally grateful for whatever it was. She knows that after all this time that Spencer's amazing heart shouldn't still surprise her, but it does.

When she feels Spencer starting to loosen her hold, she shakes her head and pulls her impossibly closer, afraid of what might happen if she lets her go. She's not sure if she's more afraid of; the girl disappearing or bursting into tears right in front of Spencer. After a few more moments, Ashley finally lets Spencer go, but the blonde doesn't go very far. She keeps them connected, but pulls back to cup Ashley's cheeks, and laugh joyfully as she wipes the few stray tears off the other girl's face.

"You like?"

Ashley chuckles and stares straight at Spencer, her eyes betraying everything she's currently feeling. "I love." Spencer holds her unwavering gaze for a moment before biting her lip and lightening up the moment.

"Come on, you goof, let's get breakfast and then we'll open presents." Ashley would pretty much follow Spencer into a burning building at this point, so she doesn't hesitant to follow the younger girl to the kitchen.

"How did you set all of this up?"

"Sean," is all Spencer says as she pulls out the box of frozen waffles from the freezer. She doesn't bother trying to look for anything to actually make something, knowing already that the sisters don't have anything that's not frozen in their kitchen.

"Dude is like a ninja!"

"Don't tell him that, it'll go to his head," she advises with a smile. She really does owe Sean a lot.

"So how long have you had this planned?" Ashley asks, remembering yesterday and how upset she was. Spencer cringes and looks at Ashley apologetically.

"Like a month."

"Then yesterday was just unnecessarily cruel!" Ashley exclaims, suddenly feeling really stupid for her extreme reaction the day before.

"I know, I'm so sorry, I didn't think that part through," Spencer assures her, tossing the waffles into the toaster and giving Ashley a hug. "I didn't mean to make you cry."

"I did not cry!"

"Kyla says you called her in tears after you hung up and she practically had to talk you off the ledge for the rest of the day," Spencer teases her, exaggerating for the fun of it.

Ashley clenches her jaw in embarrassment, but plays it off, "Kyla is an idiot." Spencer laughs and kisses Ashley's nose, letting the subject drop for her sake.

"Spence, please tell me you didn't actually get me a present," Ashley says as they get settled back into the living room after their breakfast. Ashley doesn't know what to say when Spencer simply shrugs and smiles bashfully at her. "You've already done more than enough! I don't need anything else. You being here is more than I could ever ask for."

"It's nothing much," Spencer promises as she hands her perfectly wrapped box over to her ex-girlfriend. Ashley playfully glares at her for a moment before focusing back on the box, trying to decide where to start unwrapping. She ends up just ripping it off, and pulls off the lid, her trademark nose crinkling smile forming the instant she sees what's inside.

"Tell me you didn't make a scrapbook of us," Ashley teases through her smile, picking the huge book up and disregarding the box to her side. She flips through the first few pages and sees pictures, movie stubs, notes they passed in class and countless other significant things stuck to the pages. "You totally did. You're such a girl!"

"Whatever, you've made them before, too!" Spencer knew she'd get some ridicule for her present, but she also knew that Ashley would really love it, though she'd never admit it. "My mom was bitching about the, and I quote, 'Ashley Shrine', I have up in my room, so I started making that a couple of months ago to get her off my back. I wasn't really making it to give to you, but when I couldn't think of anything else, I thought that would be the perfect thing. I mean, what else can I get the girl that has everything?"

"I don't have everything, Spence," Ashley tells her, looking at her meaningfully. Spencer nods and blushes a bit when Ashley tucks a piece of hair behind her ear.

"Not yet," Spencer replies quietly, and when Ashley's grin gets even bigger, she knows she heard her.

"Thank you so much," Ashley tells her, gesturing to the scrapbook that's sitting on her lap. "I love it, and I'm totally gonna be obsessively looking through it every night before bed from now on. I just need a lock of your hair and I'll be set."

"Ass," Spencer laughs, happy to see that her present was a hit. She hadn't been stressing over the perfect gift as much as Ashley had been, but it had still be a bit of a struggle for her, so seeing that Ashley liked it made her happy.

"So, um, I guess it's your turn." Ashley doesn't know why she suddenly feels so nervous, since she was so confident about her gift yesterday. She still thinks it's perfect, and hopes that Spencer agrees, but there's still an uneasiness that won't go away until she sees what Spencer's reaction will be.

"Well, if you insist!" Spencer jokes, quite excited to see what Ashley could have possibly gotten her. Kyla had told her on the phone the previous night that Ashley had spent a week freaking out, trying to find the perfect gift, only to have some kind of epiphany in the middle of the mall two days before. She just hopes Ashley didn't go all out and buy some extravagant thing like she tended to do on occasion. Spencer wouldn't be offended, knowing that Ashley had obviously put a lot of thought into whatever it was she bought, but it just wasn't necessary.

"Okay, close your eyes." Spencer does just that, and Ashley takes a deep breath to calm her nerves before placing her gift in Spencer's waiting hands. "You can open them now."

"What's this?" Spencer questions before she can stop herself, confused to find a simple envelope before her.

"I was gonna try to trick you by putting it in a box or something, but I can't wrap for the life of me so …" Ashley tries to explain, her tone making it obvious how unsure she now is. "Just open it, please."

"Okay," Spencer agrees, sliding her finger across the seam and opening the flap. She closes her eyes for a brief moment as she pulls out the contents. When she opens her eyes, she's faced with a handful of tourist brochures to different places around the world. Her brow furrows as she tries to decipher what this is supposed to mean, but she can't figure it out. She looks up at Ashley, holding the booklets up. "I'm sorry, I don't … I don't understand. What's …"

"I spent forever trying to find you the perfect gift," Ashley begins, swallowing past the lump that has suddenly appeared in her throat. "I racked my brain for weeks, and literally went to every store within an hour from here, but there was nothing. I wanted this gift to somehow make up for all the fucked up things I've done in the past year. I mean, I didn't expect it to really make up for it or anything, but I wanted it to be a start, you know? I just felt like this was my chance to do something good, for you, but I couldn't find a single thing that was right."

"I would have loved anything you got me, Ash."

"I know," Ashley smiles at her. She moves a bit closer to the girl and takes a hold of her hands. "I know you would have, Spence. You're just that kinda girl. But … I just really wanted it to be perfect. And two days ago, when I was in the middle of the mall, having a breakdown with Kyla on the phone because I still hadn't found anything, she said something that finally clicked. You know what she said?"

"What?" Spencer asks softly, completely captivated by the girl before her, hanging on her every word.

"She told me to calm down, and she told me to just think." Ashley squeezes Spencer's hand unconsciously. "Then she asked me if I could get you anything in the world, what would it be." Ashley quickly decides that it's best not to mention that her first real thought was Clay, since that would just ruin the mood. "And then I realized that if I could give you anything in the world, Spence, it would be to give you this last summer back."

Spencer feels her heart swell and clench at the same time, but she still doesn't quite get it. "But what do …'

"I obviously can't give last summer back, since no matter how much money I have, I can't get a time machine built," Ashley attempts to joke, and she's happy she gets a bit of a smile out of Spencer. "I can't give you last summer, but I can give you this next one." Spencer looks confused for another moment before her eyes widen. "Anywhere in the world you want to go, we'll go. I talked to your dad already, and he said that as long as it was okay with you, I could kidnap you and we could spend all summer together, wherever it is you want to go."

"Ashley …"

"I know this might seem like the Cabo thing, but I swear it's not," Ashley jumps in before Spencer can say anything. "We don't even have to go anywhere, if you just want to stay here. This isn't me naively trying to buy your love or anything. This is me committing to you, in the only way I know how right now. No matter what our relationship is by June, whether we're dating again, or we're still just friends or even if you're dating someone else, I want to spend the whole summer with you, like I should have done before. I know it's not the same, but it's the only thing I could think of and …"

Spencer cuts her rambling off with a soft kiss, her hands leaving Ashley's and coming to rest on either side of her neck. It takes Ashley a moment to realize what's going on before she starts kissing her back. The kiss is innocent and new, yet passionate and familiar. It makes Ashley feel indescribably tingly all over.

"That was a much better reaction than I was hoping for," is all that Ashley can think to say when Spencer pulls away from her and rests their foreheads together. "I hope you don't think that's what I was expecting, because I totally wasn't. I don't want you to feel like you have to rush into anything because I was amazing enough to think of such a romantic gift." The blonde just laughs and moves herself into Ashley's lap like it was where she belonged - and it was.

"I hate to burst your bubble, but I was already planning on macking on you, whether your gift sucked or not," Spencer informs her, wrapping her arms around Ashley's neck and letting the other girl bury her head in the crook of her own.

"Is that right?" Ashley questions, finding it absolutely impossible to wipe the silly grin off of her face. This was most definitely the best Christmas in the history of Christmases. She had no idea how they could possibly top it next year or in the years to come. Oh yeah, there would be years to come.

"Yep," Spencer confirms, leaning forward to press her lips against her girlfriend's. She can't believe how good it felt to be able to do that whenever she wanted again. "Though you totally ruined the adorable little mistletoe thing I had planned out!"

"Oh, you had a plan involving mistletoe, huh?"

"It was gonna be epic." Ashley just laughs and squeezes the life out of the girl in her lap. She knows that there will be lots of serious talking still to be had, but all of that could wait until tomorrow. For now, she just wants to enjoy Christmas with the girl of dreams, the girl she still doesn't think she deserves, but somehow got anyway. "But whatever, your little field trip sounds alright too. I was thinking we should go to all the places you went during the summer, and like, replace all the depressing old memories with new ones."

"Would these new ones involve nudity?"

"Perhaps," Spencer grins, her cheeks turning a slight shade of red at the topic of conversation.

"Now that'll definitely be epic," Ashley agrees, loving the way Spencer still blushes a little bit when they talk about sex. It was just one of the many, many, many things she adores about the girl. She leans forward, kissing the blonde's chin. "Thank you for giving me Christmas, and so much more. I love you, Santa."

"I love you, too, Mrs. Claus," Spencer promises, sealing it with a kiss.

There's a second part that I'll probably post in a couple of days. But review, please!