A/N This is the final chapter for this story. Thanks for reading and leaving feedback, I'm glad I decided to post my stuff over here. I hope you enjoy.
"That was so good," Ashley remarked sincerely. "You have to cook for me more often."
Spencer smiled shyly, "You're not the only one who can take cooking lessons from my dad." She'd been nervous to cook for the brunette so she was relieved that her food had turned out edible. "I'm glad you liked it."
"I didn't like it," Ashley frowned. She paused a few beats before flashing Spencer a toothy grin. "I absolutely loved it!"
"You ass," Spencer rolled her eyes and then she swatted her girlfriend's arm. "That was mean."
Ashley covered her eyes with her napkin. "No pouting! You know I can't resist it, plus I was only joking so it doesn't count."
"You are so dramatic," Spencer pointed out before leaning across the table and planting a kiss on Ashley's forehead.
"Well, it's true," Ashley replied. There were many things she was powerless against when it came to the blonde and her pout topped that list. "But seriously, Spence, dinner was awesome. Thank you so much for such an amazing meal."
"Is it me, or do most of our conversations seem to revolve around dinner?" Spencer asked rhetorically. She wasn't really sure where that question came from but it did seem to be an astute observation.
Ashley took a moment to take in how absolutely lucky she was. Not just because her girlfriend had surprised her by cooking. Spencer had sent the brunette to run a few errands that afternoon without giving her any hint of what was to come. Ashley had assumed that they'd go out that night for a nice anniversary meal, but clearly her girlfriend had other ideas. She had walked back into their place to find it illuminated with candles and a certain blonde girl standing there looking gorgeous.
After recovering from the shock Ashley felt her heart expand to a point she didn't know it could go. She'd swept Spencer up in a very passionate embrace because it was the only way she could even begin to express what she was feeling. Before the blonde had come into Ashley's life nobody had really made an effort for her. She'd been constantly disappointed by her parents but since Spencer had come along those types of feelings were non-existent.
That's not to say life was perfect but for Ashley it was pretty damn close. She wasn't used to having someone who cared for her in a way that made her feel special, and there wasn't a day that went by where the brunette didn't thank her lucky stars for Spencer. She finally felt like she belonged to something and someone and while a coupe of years ago that would have been
scary, now it brought a sense of incredible comfort to Ashley.
Throughout the entire meal she'd been thinking of the present she'd made for Spencer. When the inspiration had struck the brunette she knew without a doubt that the blonde would love it. It had taken some sneaking around to get it done and once it was complete, Ashley was thrilled with the way it turned out. She'd spent a lot of time making sure it was perfect because she wanted it to convey exactly how she felt to her girlfriend. However, as the meal progressed, Ashley's confidence began to wane significantly. What had seemed like a great idea two days ago, now seemed to be something incredibly lame and cheesy.
A pit formed in the brunette's stomach as the time to give Spencer her gift got closer. She was a nervous wreck and it didn't appear that anything would make her feel better. Like she had expressed to Kyla and Arthur, the last thing Ashley wanted to do was screw up an important night and moment.
"Ok, you've gone silent on me," Spencer said, breaking the brunette's thoughts. "Am I boring you?"
"Not at all," Ashley assured her girlfriend. She pressed her lips against Spencer's temple as the two of them cuddled together on the couch. The dishes from dinner were cleared a while ago and they were enjoying just being close to one another without distractions. "You're many things Spencer, but boring isn't one of them."
"Such a sweet talker," Spencer teased as she snuggled even closer to the brunette. She loved all the time she spent with Ashley but the quiet moments were among her favorite. "I really do love you."
"I love you more," Ashley replied knowing that the blonde would insist that wasn't true. Instead of waiting for Spencer to respond, she kissed her tenderly.
After a few minutes Spencer pulled away to lay her head on the brunette's chest. She loved hearing how fast Ashley's heart would beat after they kissed. It was nice knowing the affect she had on the other girl.
As much as Ashley was enjoying being so close to the blonde, her anxiousness for exchanging gifts wouldn't allow her to stay in the moment. "I'll be right back," she announced before jumping off the couch and running to the bedroom.
Spencer shook her head as she watched the disappearing figure of her girlfriend. She wasn't sure what Ashley was up to but she suspected it had to do with her gift. The brunette had spent the past two nights working on something that Spencer was strictly forbidden to see or touch or be near. It only made sense that it had to do with their anniversary. Unlike Ashley though, Spencer was more than confident that her gift would be a success. She was sure of it.
Ashley walked back to the couch, the present she'd made clutched firmly in her hand. She couldn't stand the tension one moment longer and that's why she'd gone to grab the package she'd wrapped that morning. Knowing that doom was impending made her want to get things over with as soon as possible. If the brunette was a betting woman, she'd put a lot of her money on her gift being a total and utter fail.
Despite her sense of foreboding a big part of Ashley hoped that Spencer would love what she'd come up with. It might not appear to be much to someone else, but to the brunette it represented something that her words weren't always able to express. And at the end of the day making her girlfriend happy is what really mattered to Ashley so that's why she'd put so much effort into the present.
"Is that for me?" Spencer asked excitedly. She now understood why the brunette had left in such an abrupt manner. Even though she didn't want Ashley spending a lot of money on her she was so excited to finally find out what he gift was. She was also excited of course to give her own gift to the brunette but clearly Ashley wanted to go first.
"No, it's for my other girlfriend," Ashley rolled her eyes to hide how on edge she actually felt.
Spencer smacked the brunette playfully on the arm, "It better not be."
Ashley sat back down next to Spencer and then she turned to face the girl she loved more than anything. "I love you a lot. You know that, right?"
Spencer was surprised at how shaky the other girl's voice sounded. She was growing curiouser and curiouser by the second to find out what was in the box the brunette had in her hand. "That better be rhetorical Davies because you know my answer."
"I do know," Ashley agreed as she shifted around. The speech she'd planned out was forgotten and now the brunette was going to have to wing it. "It just sounded like a good question to start with."
"You really are one of a kind," Spencer observed affectionately. "And I'm glad you're mine."
Ashley blushed but she refused to get distracted from her goal of showing the blonde exactly how she felt. She cleared her throat a few times before she placed the box in her hand into Spencer's lap. "There was a time when hearing that from you would make me want to run in the other direction."
Spencer was so tempted to interject with a comment but she could see that Ashley was struggling to get out whatever it was she was going to say so she remained quiet.
Ashley locked eyes with the blue pair she was so deeply in love with. The past year had brought her immeasurably closer to Spencer but that didn't mean it was easy to be so open. Whatever discomfort she felt though was worth it because she knew the blonde appreciated the change in her. "When I first fell in love with you, Spence, it was the best and the most terrifying thing I'd ever experienced."
The blonde was watching her girlfriend with rapt attention. She wanted desperately to open the present in her lap but one again Spencer showed restrain because whatever Ashley was saying was much more important than any object.
"In a lot of ways I felt like you deserved someone better than me," Ashley admitted. "Someone who could love you without feeling scared out of their mind."
"Oh, Ash," Spencer sighed as she caressed her girlfriend's cheek. She didn't like hearing the brunette put herself down. "There's nobody out there that's better for me than you."
"I don't know, you haven't really looked that hard," Ashley replied semi seriously. "But I know without any single shred of doubt that you are the one for me and you've made me believe over this past year that perhaps I am exactly what you need."
Spencer nodded, "You really are." She felt her emotions start to take over and the blonde could tell it was only moments before she got choked up. Not because she was sad, but because of how strong her feelings for Ashley were.
Ashley took a deep breath before continuing. "When you so rudely bumped into me that day we first met I was so closed off from the world I had no idea how to let anyone in."
Any comeback Spencer had was stopped because of the intensity she saw in the brunette's eyes.
"I lashed at you because I really thought that people sucked and that they'd inevitably let me down." It wasn't easy for Ashley to be so honest, and while she knew it was important to be expressive it left her feeling very vulnerable. "You weren't like that though. I still have no idea what you saw in me or why you stayed when I tried so hard to push you away."
"Because you're worth it," Spencer told the brunette in no uncertain terms. "Everything that we've been through has been worth it because look where we are now."
"Not everything," Ashley said in reference to why they had separated in high school.
Spencer shook her head before tugging on her girlfriend's hand. "Yes, everything. None of that stuff matters anymore Ash, and you have to stop thinking you're who you used to be. You're not."
"Yes ma'am," Ashley replied as her emotions also started to come out. She knew it was only a matter of time before the moisture in her eyes spilled over. "But we're getting sidetracked anyway I really didn't plan to take a stroll down memory lane. My intention tonight was to give you something I've never given anybody."
"Do I get to open my gift now?" Spencer asked impatiently.
Ashley inhaled sharply, "Yes, go ahead."
Spencer let out an excited squeal before she ripped the her present open. She opened the box Ashley had gift wrapped and when she looked inside she wasn't quite sure how to react. The blonde looked up to see if her girlfriend was going to give her an explanation.
Ashley lifted the object out of the box and even though her hand was trembling she placed it in the blonde's hand. "I'm giving you my heart, Spence," Ashley whispered. Her voice was shaking along with the rest of her body. Not only did she feel vulnerable but the brunette suddenly felt very exposed. It didn't help matters that the blonde wasn't saying anything.
The truth was, Spencer had no idea what to say. She was incredibly touched and caught off guard by the emotion pouring out of her girlfriend. She'd known instantly what her gift was when she'd seen it, but she wasn't expecting it to come with what was shaping up to be a very deep look into Ashley's mind.
After her epiphany, Ashley had rushed out to the nearest craft store to buy all the supplies she needed to make the gift she'd given the blonde. It had taken her hours to mould it to perfection. Countless times Ashley had started over because the heart looked lopsided and that wasn't acceptable to her. Once everything was perfect, the brunette had put the heart into the oven to harden it. Then came the painting job which had resulted in more red paint ending up on Ashley than on the present but the brunette didn't mind. She'd finished things off by painting a white letter A in the middle of the clay heart to identify it as her own.
Ashley was dying inside because Spencer hadn't reacted at all really since getting her present. It was killing the brunette not knowing what her girlfriend was thinking. "I never thought I'd trust anyone enough to give them my heart, but I trust you with it completely." Ashley continued as she played with her fingers. "And I'm giving it to you to hold onto and keep safe for the rest of our lives." While it wasn't a proposal, she was signifying her intentions for the future. "Because I'm going to do everything in my power to keep yours safe from ever feeling any kind of pain."
Spencer was once again rendered speechless. She couldn't believe how thoughtful and amazing her girlfriend was. It wasn't that she doubted Ashley, but that didn't mean she expected to get a gift that would blow her away.
"You think it's stupid, don't you?" Ashley couldn't take the blonde's silence any longer. She'd been on edge for the better part of a week and she'd finally been pushed off the edge. The gift that she'd thought was perfection, was turning out to be the complete opposite. "I knew it was lame!"
"No, it's not," Spencer insisted when she found her voice. She held on tightly to the heart in her hand because she didn't want anything bad to happen to it. "It's the most thoughtful and wonderful thing anybody has ever given me."
Ashley was too far gone to believe her girlfriend. "You're just being nice, it was a dumb idea." Inside it crushed her to think that Spencer didn't like what she'd spent hours making. And of course that meant her over dramatic side was coming back full force.
Spencer was having a difficult time understanding why the brunette wasn't listening to her. "It's not a dumb idea, I love it!"
"You have to say that!" Ashley exclaimed almost hysterically. "I should have just done something unoriginal like a scrapbook of us together." She missed how Spencer's face fell because if she'd have noticed there's no way the brunette would have kept talking. "Talk about lame but at least you wouldn't have a stupid clay heart that you can't do anything with."
Spencer didn't know which remark to react to but that didn't stop her stomach from dropping. "You think scrapbooks are lame?"
There was something in the blonde's tone that made Ashley step out of her fit. When she saw the tears brimming in Spencer's eyes she knew this time they weren't the happy kind of tears. A realization hit her hard and it made the brunette weak in the knees. "Oh my god!"
"Do you really think that?" Spencer asked as she unsuccessfully hid the pain she was feeling.
"Oh god, Spence," Ashley forgot about her own issues because it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the blonde had made for her. "I don't think that at all, I was just talking out of my ass."
Spencer didn't want to break down because she knew deep down that her girlfriend had no idea what she'd put together when she'd made that comment. "I mean, it's ok if you do..."
"I don't think that!" Ashley practically shrieked as she grabbed Spencer by the shoulders. "I was just nervous to give you my gift because I thought you hated it." She was talking incredibly fast, "Please don't be upset Spence and please don't pay attention to what I said. I think that scrapbooks are the coolest thing ever and I think that anyone who thinks of such an awesome idea is, uhm awesome. Oh god, this isn't coming out right and please don't be upset because..."
Spencer cut the brunette off with a kiss. "You sure know how to freak out," she remarked once they'd pulled apart. She could have made a bigger deal out of the scrapbook comment but what was the point? Ashley obviously felt bad and the blonde had no desire to let one small misunderstanding ruin their night.
"Can you forgive me, Spence?" Ashley asked frantically.
"There's nothing to forgive," Spencer told her girlfriend. "But that doesn't mean I can't make you feel bad about it later. Especially when it comes to making me breakfast in bed tomorrow."
Ashley let out a relief filled laugh. "Is that the way you're going to play this?"
Spencer gave the brunette a coy look. "Of course it is. How else do you want me to react to you calling my gift lame?"
"Spencer!" Ashley whined loudly. "That's not very nice," she pulled the blonde in to her arms. "Besides how do I know it's not actually lame when you haven't shown it to me?"
"Smart ass!" Spencer exclaimed but she wasn't upset anymore.
"I really am sorry," Ashley said before she kissed her girlfriend.
Spencer returned the kiss lovingly, "I know you are and that's why I'm letting you off the hook." She looked down at the heart in her hand and then back into the eyes of the girl she was madly in love with. "Thank you for giving me something I've wanted pretty much since I laid eyes on you. Even if I didn't know it then."
Ashley's insides turned to mush like only Spencer could do. "Just so you know you can't exchange it for any other heart, you're stuck with mine."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Spencer replied. She knew she'd never need anyone else's heart or love because in Ashley she'd found exactly what she wanted and needed.
Ashley was finally at peace with her gift, "Happy Anniversary, Spence."
"Happy Anniversary, Ash." Spencer hadn't felt more in love than she did right then.
While Ashley definitely wanted to see the scrapbook the blonde had made for her she couldn't help but want Spencer more. She pulled her girlfriend off the couch and towards their bedroom with the intention of making their night even more unforgettable, but in a really good way.
And that's exactly what she did.