A/N Hey there to all of you left still reading :) I have no real excuse for why my updates have been so few and far between. This year has been the best of my life (I got engaged!) and the hardest of my life (dealing with a dad that is sick) so writing hasn't been the priority I've wanted it to be. I won't make a promise of when I will be able to update again, but I am going to do my absolute best to finish this story. I'm probably about 15-20 chapters from being done. Thanks again to all of you for reading, reviewing and sending me PMs, it is always something I appreciate
All work and no play makes Spencer a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Spencer a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Spencer a dull girl.
My life is so boring right now.
You get the idea.
I can't remember the last time I've had so little fun. Surprisingly, though, I'm OK with having no life besides my job.
I'm not going the way of my dad and making work my whole life.
I'm no dummy.
Contrary to what some people might believe.
But I am throwing myself into this (temporary) job as much as I can.
It's not easy, mind you.
This is what my day consists of: work, work, work, message Ashley. Work, work, read Ashley's message back to me. Work, work, work, arrive home, spend a bit of time with Ashley, work a bit more and then pass out in bed as I cuddle into my lady.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
I have no idea what my dad was thinking when he didn't hire additional staff to take handle the amount of work we've been getting. Not very smart, Mr. Carlin.
Even my thoughts are boring.
Remember when all I would think about was Ashley naked?
Or in a bikini.
And about having lots of sex with her.
Seems like a lifetime ago.
At least my poetry skills haven't gone to shit.
I'm going to try and make it home at a decent time tonight. I haven't been able to do that since I returned to the life of a high power executive.
Why do I hear laughing in my head?
I look up for my desk to find my brother standing at my office door. You'd think over the last couple of weeks we would have spent a lot of time together. But that's not the case at all.
As much as I've been spending time at the office, a lot of what I've been doing doesn't involve Glen. When it does, we're both really focused on getting things done. If that's not the sign of an impending apocalypse, I don't know what is. It's not to say that Glen and I can't work hard, it's just that we're easily distracted.
Yeah, that's it.
"You busy?" he asks me as I continue the inner dialogue in my head.
I bet if people really knew what went on in my mind they'd be truly horrified. Luckily that's just our little secret.
No one has to know.
Not a soul.
What was I talking about?
"For you, I have no time to spare," I reply hilariously.
Good to know my amazing sense of humour has not been damaged by recent events.
Glen rolls his eyes at me. "I think you can spare a few minutes for lunch because I know you haven't eaten yet."
Speaking of not eating…
Sex might not be my top priority at this moment, but it doesn't mean I can't have fleeting thoughts of fancy.
It's the only thing getting me by most days.
I'm being overly dramatic again.
"Yo, Spence, stop spacing out on me," Glen says as he hands me the sandwich he so thoughtfully brought with him.
He's a jerk, but he's still my brother from the same mother.
"Shut up, ass," I say even though he's right about me spacing out.
We make small talk for a little while, but I have a feeling Glen is holding something back.
I really do have a sick sense about these things.
"Everything OK?" I ask once I'm done eating.
Glen sighs and then he gets up to close my office door before he sits back down. Maybe he's firing me!
But I'm a good worker!
My imagination is so ridiculous at times.
"Aiden came by last night," Glen starts, sounding uneasy.
"You guys have been seeing a lot of each other lately," I reply. I think Aiden has been a good support system for my brother.
Lord knows Glen needs it.
"Yeah, he's been great," Glen sighs again and call me crazy, but I don't think he's about to announce a reconciliation between the two of them. "He's started dating someone-"
How dare he hurt my brother like that!
Wait a second.
Why the hell am I getting mad at Aiden?
I guess some old habits are hard to break.
He's done nothing wrong here.
It's my brother who went and fucked everything up.
And even though he did, I can't help but feel incredibly sorry for him as he looks at me with the saddest eyes.
He is, at heart, a good person.
A good person who did a dumb, stupid, moronic, selfish, awful thing.
You get the picture.
"I'm really sorry." I wish there was something more I could do, but I know this hurts and nothing I say right now will change that.
Glen shrugs half heartedly. "It's my fault. You shouldn't feel sorry for me."
"Doesn't mean that you're not hurting."
"I don't know why the idea of marrying Aiden freaked me out." This is the first time Glen is opening up to me about what happened. "But it did and I know I should have talked to him or anyone about it."
I want to offer him some wise Spencer wisdom, but I stay silent.
"I messed up big time, Spence, and I'm lucky that Aiden's still willing to be my friend," Glen continues, as sad as ever. "I started going to therapy…"
His voice trails off and I can tell he's wanting me to say something. "About time, you've had a few screws loose for as long as I remember."
"And I'm the ass!" Glen fires back, but he's laughing.
Look, I'm not an unfeeling douche bag.
I know what Glen is telling me isn't easy.
And I also know that the best way to get him to relax is to joke around.
That's how both of us roll.
"I just call them how I see them," I reply. The mood in my office is surprisingly light. I'm beyond happy that Glen has opened up to me and I will support my brother no matter what. I put my hand over his clenched fist. "Whatever you need, I'm here for you."
"Thanks, Spence," Glen says sincerely. "And not to worry, my therapist offers a family discount, so whenever you decide to fix your many problems, I've got your back."
I love that I have this kind of relationship with my brother.
We don't always get a long.
We sometimes say really means things to one another in the heat of a moment.
But at the end of the day, we are there for each other.
Whether it's support that's needed, a kick in the butt or an inappropriate joke to make each other laugh.
I'm really lucky to have him in my life.
"You are in so much trouble!" I exclaim right before I get up to give my Glen the punch he so rightly deserves.
Glen shrieks in fear because he knows all about my mean right hook. He runs out of my office before I can catch him, and as much as I'll make him pay for it later, it's good to have talked with him about what's going on.
I return to my desk a little out of breath but feeling better than I've felt in a very long time. I send Ashley a message to tell her I love her and then I put my head down and get back to what I was doing.
Whoever this new Spencer is, I hope she's not here to stay for too long.
She really is no fun at all.
Many, many, many, many, many hours later I'm getting ready leave for the night.
Like that needed to be said.
Anyway, I promised my parents that I'd stop by on the way home even with me feeling l like I could sleep for weeks.
My dad is recovering from a heart attack and major surgery, but he's looking the best I've seen him in a very long time. Not working really agrees with him.
I remember the days when the only job I had was being Ashley's PR person.
Those were the days, my friend.
We thought they'd never end.
We'd sing and fuck forever in a day.
I didn't even mean to do that lyric change!
My deprived brain is more powerful than I could have possibly imagined. If I just channeled all my energy into the right place, I could really start to think about world domination.
Who runs the world?
I'm even loopier than I realized.
As I walk out of the office, I notice the light in Madison's office still on. That girl seems to always be here. I'd lecture her on work/life balance but I'm too pooped to say anything right now.
That conversation will have to wait.
Man, I'm exhausted.
Thankfully I can drive to my parent's on auto pilot. I let out the hugest yawn before I get out the Spencermobile. Now is not the time to act worn out.
Now is the time to show my dad that I'm doing my part for my family.
Family comes first!
If I didn't know better, I'd say I sounded like some kind of movie mobster.
Who am I kidding; I wouldn't last three seconds in prison.
What if Ashley was a guard there?
Ashley and me in prison.
I have to shut down that part of my brain this instant!
No matter how much I want to play out a prison fantasy in my head.
Or in person.
No no no!
I shake my head a few times to get rid of my dirty thoughts.
Not something that is easy to do, let me tell you.
Once I have my loins in check, however fragile my hold over them is, I step inside the house.
I hear the sound of laughter coming from the den so I decide to head in that direction. It's so much better than the sound of fighting I'd come to expect when I was at my mom and dad's. That wasn't fun at all.
When I see what's going on in the den, my heart melts all over the floor.
Into a giant puddle!
It's so big I could drown in it!
My mom, my dad, Ashley and Kyla are playing what I think is Charades.
And whatever other synonyms that I might know!
I'm so out of it I didn't even realize that Ashley's car was in the driveway. I probably shouldn't admit that to anyone because they'll start worrying about my driving.
And we all know that my driving is impeccable.
My mom and Ashley are on one team and my dad and Kyla are the other team.
I watch the four of them trash talk each other for a little bit, before I clear my throat to announce my presence.
Can I just say how my heart skips all sorts of beats with the way that Ashley's face lights up when she sees me. I mean sure, everyone else is happy to see me, but the expression on my fiancée's face is just the best.
I hope she looks at me like that for the rest of my life.
Speaking of which, I really need to start planning our wedding. That's going on my to-do list right now!
If anything, my dad almost dying made me realize how precious life is.
I actually was trying to make a point.
Anyway, I think you get my drift.
My women runs up to give me a kiss. And as much as I would love to keep kissing her all night, I don't think my family wants to be a witness to that.
"You look absolutely beautiful," she whispers in my ear as she pulls away.
I shake my head and mouth "liar" to her because I know I look like I've been run over by a truck.
Figuratively speaking of course!
One stay in the hospital for my family right now is more than enough!
After I say hi to everyone my mom and Kyla disappear into the kitchen to get us snacks and Ashley has to leave to take a call from one of the musicians she's been mentoring.
It's a new thing that started when she introduced Kyla to Stan.
And she's really run with it.
Not that I should be surprised, Ashley is a really good teacher.
That reminds me of this one time…
"Late night at the office?" my dad asks before I can access the part of my brain that is off limits right now.
I flop down on the couch beside him, and give my father a gentle slap across his arm. "You know you're not supposed to be asking me about work. Don't make me tell me mom!"
I can be Tough Spencer when I need to be.
She's pretty bad ass.
"No, no, you misunderstand me," my dad holds his arms up in surrender. "I was just making small talk."
I purse my lips together and give him a look that says you better not be lying to me. "Ask me about the weather then. Or something political. Or about the whatever sports team you love. Or about something else that isn't forbidden."
Instead of asking me anything, my dad leans over kisses me on my forehead. "You really are one of a kind, Spence." Before I can ask if he's trying to insult me, he keeps going. "In all seriousness though, you do look tired and I want to make sure you're not working too hard."
That's rich coming from him.
It's almost enough to make me laugh.
That is until I realize that – and even though he was being polite – the artist formerly known as my dad just told me I look like crap.
How dare he!
I suppose his recent health crisis gives him a pass.
"I'm fine," I reassure my dad but he looks unconvinced. I draw an "X" over my heart. "Promise!"
My dad lets out a big sigh and that makes my stomach tense. I already had Glen sigh at me today and what he had to say wasn't all kittens and rainbows. "I know we both decided we shouldn't apologize anymore," he sighs again while I try not to freak the fuck out. Good to know some things never change. "But I really am sorry for what I put you through."
"I know you didn't do any of this on purpose."
He may be a huge workaholic, but my dad is the best man I know.
He shakes his head. "But I knew what I was doing, Spence and didn't stop myself. What I've put you through, your mom, everyone, I'm an ass."
I guess that's where Glen gets is from.
Come on, that was a teensy bit funny.
"You're not an ass," I reassure the man that's been there for me my whole life. "You just forgot what was important for a little while."
"That's an understatement," my dad replies with a bit of chuckle. "I almost blew everything because I didn't realize I already had everything I needed in my life."
It's still kind of hard to be around my dad.
Not because I don't love him.
That goes without saying
I'm still feeling guilty about his heart attack and the role I think I played in it. Logically that's probably not true, but logic has never been my strong suit.
I know I won't always feel this way and I also know that I'm not about to let that issue get in the way of spending as much time with my dad and my whole family.
It seems both of us are still coming to terms with our guilt.
Like father, like daughter.
"But you didn't." I say to reassure him.
"Only because I was lucky," my dad replies. "I'm never going to repeat the mistakes I've made in the past. Your mom is giving me a second chance and I hope all of you will as well."
"Of course I won't be giving you a second chance." I only realize after it comes out of my mouth, how wrong that sounded. "You've been the best dad any girl could ask for, you've never needed a second chance with me."
My dad tears up and that makes me tear up as well.
We really are a lot alike.
Some would call us mush balls, but I prefer it be described as being in touch with our emotions.
"You better not be sitting around all day feeling sorry for yourself." I give my dad a stern look but I don't think he's intimidated by me. "You can't change the past, dad, you can only look forward to the future."
Where did that come from?
It was almost poetic.
"Pretty good advice there, Spence," my dad says before he tussles my hair. "I always said you're a chip off the old block."
There's a bubble of emotion sitting in my throat right now. I will not let it come out because I don't want to have an outburst like I've been prone to do lately. It's just that at moments like this – moments of bonding with my dad – do I realize how much I need him.
How much I want him around for many, many years to come.
And how much I really love him.
"I did learn from the best." My voice cracks a bit, but I manage to keep myself together.
I do go in for a hug, though. There's something very reassuring about my dad's hugs.
We exchange "I love yous" because how could we not and I'm pretty impressed that I didn't burst into tears.
Maybe there's hope for me after all.
"I'm thinking of surprising your mom with a trip around the world," my dad whispers to me after he's looked around to make sure she's still in the kitchen.
And that makes me cry.
"That's a great idea," I tell him as I wipe the tears from my eyes. "She's going to love it."
"I hope so," he replies before handing me a tissue. "Once the doctor gives me the OK, think you can help me plan it?"
"I would love to!" I exclaim with genuine enthusiasm.
I've missed Ashley so much as I've been working my tush off, but I've also missed just being with family.
We've hardly had any time together that hasn't involved hospitals or the office lately.
That needs to change.
"If you're feeling up to it, how would you like it if we did a Carlin family barbeque this Saturday?" I ask my dad even though I know what he's going to say.
"That's a question that doesn't need asking," he replies just like I thought he would.
"But you won't be doing the cooking, OK? You have to take it easy!" I command.
That point is not negotiable.
And even though I'm sure he's going to fight me on that point, this time when I attempt a stern look I manage it with success.
My dad just nods instead of arguing that he can handle it.
I think a family get together is just what the doctor ordered.
Under normal circumstances that would trigger a thought about playing doctor with Ashley, but in case you haven't been able to tell, I'm too worn-out for that to happen.
Oh well, this dry spell can't last forever.