I AM BACK.
so I'm quickly uploading this before my night class starts in a few hours, because I still have my homework to do... oh college. anyway this IS the sequel to 'all I ever knew of love'. it'll probably make more sense if you read that first, but I don't think you have to. also (not that you care) I wanted to make the formatting/style of this story similar to the first. 'all I ever knew of love' was from Sam's pov, and this is from Spencer's. enjoy!
title credit goes to OK Go, and story insert lyrics credit goes to Black Gold for their song Detroit.
also, rating is because I'm paranoid. if you're here looking for porn, I apologize. not really.
all is not lost
there's no time to rest my eyes
'cause you'll be gone before i rise
(i wonder where you are)
—he's eating cereal by the kitchen island with the baby in his arms, occasionally offering the curious girl a cheerio or two & when he lifts his head, he sees sam watching them from the stairs as her daughter, not his, drools all over his fingers & his shirt & she smiles when cass tries to grab the spoon out of his hand & he focuses again to the baby in his arms & he doesn't notice sam enter into the kitchen until she places her hand on his arm & before he can speak, she stands on tiptoe & kisses him of her own accord, though he leans down to kiss her as well & it's short, but ardent, & a moment later she leaves for work & it isn't brought up when she comes back—
It's been a year and a half since she moved in and he still doesn't know where he stands with her.
(too close and never close enough)
He knows, of course, that they're friends and he knows that they're roommates but it's puzzling because he's also her baby's occasional sitter and her own fake 'out-of-state' boyfriend when she has a crappy first date and needs rescuing. Plus there was that one time he kissed her. Or was it that she kissed him…? Well, there was kissing.
(he really wants to kiss her again)
But Sam's got a baby on her hip and a part time job and she doesn't need any more stress from her spazzy artist roommate… friend… whatever.
(if she'd just let him take care of her and Cassidy, it wouldn't be a problem)
He thinks they're co-parenting.
By all means, Cass should be messed up, what with no official 'set' of parents, but she's the happiest, most well-adjusted human being he's ever known, and she's barely a year old. Sam is determined not to follow in her mother's footsteps, and is using her own turbulent childhood as a guide on exactly what not to do. Sam is a phenomenal mother—it blows him away to see her and Cass together—and he couldn't be more proud of her.
(he's dated enough single mothers to know a good one when he sees her)
Cass doesn't really look like him, she's all blonde and blue-eyed like Sam, and she doesn't really act like him, she's like the chillest thing ever, but she's his kid. He's not biologically her father, and he's not legally her father, but Cass is his little girl and he is definitely her father.
It's pretty clear from the way Sam worries away at her full lower lip that she wants to say something, but how does a person even address that situation? Christ, he knows that Sam loves that he's in Cass's life, and he knows that Sam loves having him around… but neither of them know if she loves him—at least enough to pursue something. Because there's a kid involved now, and things with kids tend to get messy.
(he swears up and down that he can handle the mess)
She has this nanny/babysitter chick for Cassidy who lives three floors down, some lady who charges way too much and is always rude when he goes to pick Cass up in the afternoon. She knows he's not Cassidy's real dad and she knows that he and Sam aren't married but are living together, heaven forbid, and he hates that Cass has to be in that environment while Sam's at work. It irritates him even more that Sam has Cassidy there during the day, because he works from home and can watch her just as well as Ms. 5-D can and he doesn't cost an arm and a leg because Cass is his family. But Sam's got her damn pride and says she's taking too many handouts from him as it is.
(he just wants to take care of what's his)
He's like ninety percent sure that she wants to be with him.
(the other ten percent is pure fear)
It's obvious to anyone—especially him—that Cass is Sam's entire world and that she'll always come first, but he knows in his heart that Sam wants him to not only be there for Cass, but for herself as well. The problem is bridging the gap or taking a leap of faith or something like that, assuring her that he would never abandon her like her father abandoned her mother… that he'd never turn away from Cass.
(if only he could make her believe him)
But she's had it instilled into her—that not only does she not deserve happiness, but that her daughter will eventually fall victim to the cycle, to the same similar fate. And yet, Cass's first words are a series of excited Da! Da!'s as she squirms in his arms, that neither he nor Sam corrects.
(they're basically a family, they're basically a couple)
Neither of them dates. She's too busy with Cass and he's too busy with Cass and the subject never seems to come up. They're not the most eloquent people and the words he plans, the long speeches of the promises he will keep, never seem to sound right when he cautiously practices in the privacy of his shower. He thinks best there.
(it doesn't help that he's so damn inarticulate)
But it seems like the odds are in his favor, because more often than not, Sam will offer up a smile that pretty much makes him stop dead in his tracks or she'll treat him like he's just as much of a parent to Cass as she is, and he can't help but feel like things are finally going right.
(above all else, he wants her to be happy)
And at the end of the day, when Cass is sleeping, Sam curls up to him on the couch like it's the most natural thing in the world, and he's sure that this is what he wants, what he needs. And they hold each other and he breathes in the scent of her skin and he knows that if he'd just man up and speak to her, this is what the rest of his life could be like.
(all he has to do is put it into words and tell her)
But the hour grows late and the baby monitor amplifies Cassidy's quiet fussing. Sam returns upstairs wordlessly, and he's left alone with a troublesome hollow feeling behind his ribs.
(it can't go on like this for much longer)
He tells her.
(and she cries)
That alone scares the living daylights out of him. And she tells him she can't.
(and he can't breathe)
It's hard to hear her reasoning over the sound of her tears and the sound of his blood hammering in his temples, but she tells him that she doesn't want to be one of those flighty young mothers who gets caught up in a relationship and doesn't consider the needs of her own kid—like her mother did to her. She's so afraid of messing Cass up that she's terrified to let herself be loved. And he's terrified that she'll leave just as quickly as she did when she graduated, but this time Cass will be with her and he'll be alone.
(he's desperate enough to resort to damage control)
So he swallows back the bile in his throat and wills away the stinging in his eyes and silences all the things he wishes he could say, and instead tells her that it's fine, that they're friends and they'll always be friends, and that he's sorry he put her in such a difficult position.
(he doesn't understand why she looks even more devastated)
But she nods and eventually gives him a weak smile and leaves to go check on Cass. He makes up some excuse about working on his new sculpture but his hands are so shaky that he knows he won't be able to work. The lies roll easily off his tongue and if he wasn't so distracted, he'd be somewhat surprised.
(there was a time where he could never withhold the truth from her)
Pretending to sculpt gets old fast—he can barely breathe, let alone think, and he leaves the loft impulsively. The front door slams behind him and he's grateful for the booming sound because it shuts up the echo of her rejection that's seemingly on loop in his brain, if only for a moment. He knows that outside somewhere, there's got to be a bar waiting for him to drink away that last conversation, and he does just that.
(but even the alcohol can't wash away the stain her words leave on his skin)
Hours go by and he's really drunk and really disheartened when he finally decides to head home. The walk back to Bushwell isn't as sobering as he hoped, and Lewbert sneers loudly at him in the lobby. He stumbles back to the loft and sees that Sam is seated on the sofa with Cassidy dozing in her arms. Sam tries to catch his eye, but he doesn't spare her or the baby a glance as he retreats into his bedroom. He doesn't know if she's trying to guilt him into forgiving her or mending things, but he's still too drunk to consider it further.
(this isn't like him and he hates it)
This time around, the sound the door makes when he shuts it, is impossibly quiet and if he listens carefully, he can hear Sam sigh and Cass fret softly in the living room, but it's probably just his overactive imagination. He's angrier at himself than at her at this point, and promises softly to himself that in the morning he'll apologize so that things will return to some semblance of normalcy.
(it's not what he wants, but it'll have to do)
He's awoken in the night by a tentative tapping on his door. If he were someone who held grudges, he'd ignore it, but he's not that kind of guy and so he opens the door to let Sam in. Her eyes are rimmed in red and if this were four years ago, he'd be floored to see Sam Puckett in tears. But he knows her now like he knows the back of his hand, as lame as it sounds, and he's more than aware that having a baby has mellowed her out. She looks sad and apologetic and heated all at once, and he prays that she'll speak first because he has no idea what to say.
(he'd probably sound like a lovesick fool anyway)
Her lips part a little, like she's testing the weight of her words on her tongue, before she shakes her head and exhales. There's a little over a foot of space between them, and he's unsure if he should back away or move closer.
(he's never sure with her anymore)
Being panicky by nature isn't helping his nerves—he's almost positive that Sam's going to tell him that she and Cass are leaving because things are so uncomfortable now, or that she's sorry he's interpreted her mannerisms wrong because she's not in love with him.
(and that would surely break him)
She draws the back of her wrist across her eyes to hide a few more tears and his hands have never ached more to pull her into his arms. But she steadies herself and looks him in the eye, and she tells him that she prides herself on not needing anyone, on being self-sufficient and being able to care for her daughter on her own. And yet, she continues, saying that she doesn't want to be alone anymore, that she doesn't want to just be friends, or roommates or whatever with him.
(perhaps she's not so articulate either)
She tells him that she loves him and that it scares her—she doesn't know how to need someone because she always was taught that it was a weakness, that letting someone love you is the same as letting someone hurt you. And Cassidy… Sam brings up her daughter and her voice cracks. Instinctively he moves closer, and she tells him that he's always been Cass's dad, even if he's not.
(his heart feels near bursting)
It terrifies her that Cassidy might eventually realize that she doesn't have a real set of parents because Sam may have screwed up the only real relationship she's ever had by telling him she can't. Her eyes are watering and he can't stand the sight of her so upset anymore so he kisses her, kisses her soundly on the mouth so that she knows that he loves her and needs her and wants all the same things that she does. It doesn't matter that she's scared, because he's scared too and they can figure it all out together. The pride he feels in her right now is staggering.
(it's in this moment that he knows that he's going to marry this woman)
Time moves quickly and their kisses turn heated. A part of him wonders if he's still drunk or dreaming because he can hardly believe that this is real, that Sam's finally in his arms. His heart is thrumming against his ribcage, though hers is as well. They barely part, only to cast off their clothes and they find themselves entangled together under his sleep-rumpled sheets. He can hardly breathe for fear of breaking the spell.
(the moment is worth every sacrifice)
She breathes and sighs and shudders against his skin, short fingernails pricking his shoulders and long hair curling across his pillows and it's perfection. It doesn't matter that her eyes are still red or that his hair is sticking up all over the place—she's real and she's his. Her name is the only thing on his lips and when she clings so tightly to him, he sees stars. Once she meets his gaze, he knows she's reflecting the same reverence in his own eyes. Slowly, she comes down from her high and kisses him, murmurs soft sentiments against his mouth and he's complete. And when morning's light arrives, he awakens to find that she's still there. It's almost ridiculous how relieved he is.
(words can't describe the feeling in his chest)
"You slept with her."
(he can feel the words slowly die on his lips)
His sister's blunt words silence the enthusiastic phone greeting he had planned, and she mistakes his speechlessness for denial because she starts right up again.
(the panic rises until he can taste it behind his teeth)
"Sam called me. She told me that you're together now. Do you have any idea what you're getting into, Spencer? I mean—"
(a sensation gradually replaced by resentment)
"—you know I love her, Spence, but when has Sam ever been able to balance her relationships in a healthy way? And now with the baby… you have to think about Cassidy in all of this!"
(he hasn't been this livid in ages)
"We are thinking about Cass." He grits out before hanging up.
(and the anger shifts into an air of betrayal)
Sam finds out when she comes home from work, and she glares so fiercely that he almost worries for his sister. With little respect for the time difference, she calls Carly out in New York and the two proceed with a lengthy and colorful screaming match.
(it's sort of terrifying)
Cass is still at her daycare, and he holds off going downstairs to pick her up so that she doesn't have to witness her mother so wholly upset.
(he has no idea how the conversation will end)
Forty-five minutes later, Sam is in tears and murmuring apologies into the receiver, and he can only imagine that his sister is doing the same. Sam repeats over and over that she loves him and she loves Carly, and she cannot give up either of them.
(and she shouldn't have to)
Carly seems to understand because when the call ends, Sam looks up and gives him a wet, but genuine smile before she collapses in his embrace. He promises that things will get better, get easier, and he knows she believes him because she hums and sighs against his chest in agreement.
(this is what he's been waiting for his whole life)
He picks up Cass and brings her back to the apartment a few minutes later, and she's burbling a happy stream of adorable, nonsensical sounds. She wiggles excitedly when she hears Sam's voice in greeting and Sam's following laughter makes his whole frame warm.
(so this is the happily ever after)
He passes Cass off to her mother and catches vague snatches of the endearments that Sam coos. And all of a sudden, Cass is squirming in her arms and pointing at him, a slobbery smile on her face as she exclaims a proud collection of Da! Da!'s. Sam smiles, kisses Cass's curly crown of hair, and nods, "Yes, little meatloaf, that's your Daddy."
(no, this is the happily ever after)
and that's it! hope you enjoyed it! please, make my day and review! it'll give me something to focus on during my three-hour linguistics lecture!