Well, I'm going to try a multichapter fic of these two. The interaction is really driven by conversation in this because I'm trying to cut down with the over expressive adjectives for this particular fic and see if it works. I think sometimes it says a lot more if it says less, if that makes sense? We shall see.
Disclaimer: None of it is mine. If I owned Troian Bellisario, she would take permanent residency in my bed.
Where the Lines Overlap
The sun is filling the room like a slow flood, shadows drowning underneath the liquid light and you listen to her dream.
You're tired, but you're awake. You'd like to sleep, but she wears it better than you do.
So you lie awake in her bed on your side, pillow clutched to your stomach the way she should be, and you watch her. You know she's given you a privilege without consent and you feel guilty because she never signed for allowing you to watch the consistent rise and fall of her back, imagining what it would feel like to trace your fingers up the hard curves of her shoulder blades and down the smooth slope of her neck.
Spencer isn't the type to leave anyone at the door, but you've stepped far past your boundaries and you know that even if she left you outside, you'd find your way in. Everyone has windows and you've managed to locate Spencer's the same way you discovered she has two eyes and a nose. You can see them, and you can easily break them.
Aria and Hanna are both haphazardly wrapped in their sleeping bags like caterpillars born without instincts on Spencer's floor and you wish your friends weren't so good to you because laying in her bed is a special kind of torture. You miserably hug her pillow tighter to your chest and draw your knees upward.
You can see her, you can hear her, you can smell her; you're practically suffocating in her and you have to endure the pressure of it without being allowed to touch her. It feels like the ceiling is touching your nose and the walls are reaching for each other, but you're stuck between them like you aren't meant to be there, and you think maybe you're not.
You think maybe you've taken advantage of the way Spencer has always been overprotective of you. You think maybe it's time to peel the mask from your face.
This is Alison all over again and you promised yourself you would never go back there, afterall.
You did, though, and now you're begging for it with dirt on your knees, unsure of why you put any bandages on in the first place because your wounds are open like dozens of screaming mouths that are saying more, more, more.
And yet it's different, being in love with Spencer. Because she would never skip the instructions before she tried to play with you and throw you out once she realized that you might have a few parts that are missing or don't fit where they're supposed to. It's different because Spencer loves you and Ali never did.
Spencer comforted you through Maya's absence and eventual disappearance, she protected you from Paige and although her methods upset you, she had the purest intentions. You wish she could help you now but there's no possible way to protect you from herself.
You want the light to drown you the way it drowned the shadows so you don't have to waste another moment not being what she needs, and as you close your eyes to imagine how it would feel for the sun to fill your lungs she begins to stir, further twisting herself in the sheets beside you.
Her hips lift from the bed with an arch of her back as she stretches, her arms reaching toward the headboard so her muscles can wake up. You decide it's healthier for you to debate whether the color of her walls are more of an eggshell or an eggnog.
"Em?" she reaches for you, hand fumbling in the blankets because of all the space you left between the two of you to spare yourself at least a little bit, and you observe her struggle until you decide to tap her elbow to give her a hint. Like dipping your big toe into the lake to sample the temperature, she cracks open an eye to test how bright it is in her room and groans upon inspection, yanking the blankets up over her head. "My career is ruined, I'm blind," she moans into the comforter, but her voice is scratchy with sleep and you can't grasp her sarcasm because your imagination is running away with the idea of being under those sheets with her.
"Emily?" Spencer peaks out from beneath the blankets, using her palm as a visor to shadow her squinting eyes. She looks skeptical of either you or herself, you can't quite tell, but you figure it's you because you have yet to say a thing to her. "You are awake, right? ...Wait, am I awake? Am I dreaming right now? I frickin' hate those because then I'm off the entire day and it sucks all of the motivation out of me if I don't know whether I'm actually here or not," she begins to sit up and you manage a laugh at that because it's such a Spencer sort of thing to say.
The gears in her mind somehow rotate in shapes with sharp corners and you wish you could loosen the bolts to make her just crazy enough to kiss you.
"You're here, I'm here," you say, laying on your side and propped up by your elbow. "You're awake."
"Splendid," she answers, falsely chipper, and Spencer is the only person you know that isn't a member of the senior citizen community who says words like 'splendid', even if she is messing around. "Have you been up long?"
"Nope," you lie, a small smile on your lips that feels as though you're trying to mold dry clay. Cracking and falling apart at the corners. "Not much longer than you. I had a funny dream, actually."
"Really?" Spencer enunciates, eyes droopy with the sleep she hasn't yet shaken off, but she has a quirky smile and it makes for a combination that reminds you of what she's like when she's drunk, which you find both adorable and uncomfortable.
"Yep," you nod. "We were all pirates," you reply vaguely, and you're lying to her, but she doesn't need to be aware that your imagination was prompted by her eccentric wardrobe and set sail with ideas she gave to you on accident.
Spencer laughs, laying back against her pillows and smiling at the ceiling, "Could you imagine Hanna as a pirate? Mona could be her parrot."
"That would be perfect!" you have to laugh at the visual of a feathered Mona, not surprised at how easy it is to imagine because she squawks enough to pass as a repetitive macaw. "Aria would be the lookout, 'cause she's good at noticing the little things. And you'd be captain."
"Why am I the captain?" Spencer asks, amused.
"Duh, you're the smartest."
"Yeah?" she questions you like it's not obvious, and you nod. Tapping her chin with an approving nod herself, she adds, "Then you'd have to be my first mate."
"Ooooh, so I'm like your apprentice?"
"Runner-up for my position, mhm. But you have to impress me if I'm to appoint you," she feigns disinterest, inspecting the tips of her hair in search of split ends that you know aren't there.
"You've also gotta downgrade your vocabulary to be a little less Alice Paul and a little more shiver-me-timbers," you animate your phrase by curling the fingers of your right hand into the shape of a hook.
"I didn't know my timbers were shivering?" she challenges you, fully awake and ready to battle you with her outstanding wit, but you're not looking to win. You like to pretend that this is what mutual flirtation with her would be like, and it scares you how much you live through your imagination.
"I can fix that, if it were to 'impress' you?" you murmur, both sultry and innocent. You wish you could mean it.
You swear her eyes flicker to your lips. It's faster than turning a page, but you swear she looked and your heart springs up your throat.
"You never know," she suggests confidently, and you're beginning to think that the old tattered book in the back of your head has fallen open and dropped words all over the sheets for her to read the thoughts you have of her.
It makes you feel naked and you nervously trip over your tongue for a moment before you recover.
"You're right," you pause, pointedly looking her over. "Because I'm not the one who is all knowing," you reply, disguising your internal panic better than you would have expected.
"But you're my apprentice, so you should be getting there," she ups you again and you happily relent, leaving the ball in her court.
"Okay, okay. I'll work on it, how's that sound?"
"Satisfactory, but not worthy of exceeding my expectations."
You smile with your bottom lip snagged between your teeth and her deep brown eyes are laughing at you. This is what you love about it, everything flows with Spencer. There aren't any awkward ebbs in conversation, she lets you say what you need to and doesn't pry, although the words nearly fall from your mouth because there doesn't ever seem to be enough room for them when she's around you. She's patient with you, she understands you and she humors you on Saturday mornings when you can't sleep because your head is too busy.
Her hair is wrapped in a low, messy bun at the nape and what she hasn't pulled back is hanging in wisps that frame her face like mahogany ribbons; it doesn't look at all as though she's just woken up, and her effortless beauty is only accentuated by her peculiar sense of fashion. You adore her style, but her light grey v-neck and black jersey shorts impress and attract you just as much, if not more.
You imagine plucking the collar of her t-shirt and pulling her toward you, and the hem would ride up her waist with your other hand chasing behind it, molding to the curves of her hips then her ribcage...
You would give absolutely anything for the chance to kiss her, but you haven't got an offer to provide you with the possibility. You wish you could be the boy she'd fall in love with.
"Hey, Spence," you ask thoughtfully, and she detects the curious shift in the tone of your voice. "What do you do when you can't have something you want?"
Spencer seems to consider her answer briefly for a minute before replying, gaze drawn back to the ceiling again.
"Get it anyway," she shrugs. "Or try to stop wanting it."
You'd laugh or smack her arm for being so careless about her answer, but you realize it's the truth.
"What if you've tried?"
"Tried to stop?" her expressive eyes flicker to you then retreat. "I don't know, Em. Is this about Paige?"
Your eyes grow.
"No! No. I don't have to try to stop wanting that, me and her are done. Too much drama."
Spencer seems relieved and she nods, "Good. I don't know if you've noticed, but having a girlfriend with more moodswings than Melissa is one you'd rather call your ex-girlfriend. Plus, she's nowhere near good enough for you."
You smile at the idea of Spencer secretly deeming girls worthy or unworthy of dating you and it grows wider when you see that she's serious, the lines in her forehead prove it.
"Yeah? She's not so bad, definitely has some issues, but she's a nice girl underneath all of the other stuff," you shrug and Spencer's head is already shaking left and right before you finish.
"Mm, I'll agree to disagree with you on that one, because anyone who tries to drown you is permanently on my blacklist."
You shrug as if it doesn't matter to you either way.
"If this is a thing, like an object or a scholarship, then I know you can get it. You're strong and driven enough to get anything, Em," she turns to you with a smile again. "And if it's a person, well, they've got to be really stupid, blind, deaf and out of their mind if they don't want you."
You appreciate that she doesn't ask, doesn't even attempt to drill something out of you that you don't want to talk about. But you're conflicted and not reassured because Spencer has just accidentally dubbed herself as being stupid, and that's the biggest, most transparent lie you've ever heard.
"No problem. I love you, Emily. I don't think you hear that enough," she grins at you, and you actually want to cry.
You stutter a few choice vowels until, fortunately, Spencer interrupts you, but it's as if the words are traveling to you through water. Her previous sentence pulses and echoes in your ears as it rattles the drum one syllable at a time. You feel like you're in the water too, drifting away in the blurry blue reflection of the sky as the staples pop from the seams of your heart, and you realize that this is nothing like Alison. You fully understood loving her was no different than loving a sturdy brick wall, she would never reciprocate and she was keen to remind you.
Spencer has a tendency to remind you of something else, something that keeps your string of hope wrapped around your finger and it's just wound a bit tighter, cutting off your circulation.
She loves you. She loves you and you can't have her.
"Em?" she snaps twice, then waves her hand in front of your nose. The action has you bursting through the surface of suffocating water and you swallow air, nodding your head at her even though she hasn't asked you a question. "You alright? I think I lost you for a minute."
"What? No, yup, I'm fine," you shrug with a shy smile. "Daydreaming."
She smirks at you.
You shrug again, this time with purpose and confidence, looking out her floor length bedroom window with a playful smile that you have difficulty finding. It feels foreign on your lips, like an unspoken language that you never learned, and you aren't able to hold it for very long.
"Maybe. You never know."