So this is my first PLL multi-chapter fic, so please let me know what you think! It's AU, so there is no A, no Alison, none of the exciting murder-mystery we all know and love. It's set in university, and for the most part everything else is as similar as it can be in an AU fic. The four girls are best friends, Toby and Jenna are step-siblings with a complicated past, etc etc but I add my own twist on things so it all flows nicely. Gradually secrets will be revealed, just like on the show, where you may hear of something ahead of time but it isn't fully explained until later, so just because something is somewhat explained doesn't mean that's all you're ever gonna get ;) Things like quotes or characters will pop up from time to time, even if the person was only in a couple episodes or just makes a cameo, or if the line is said by someone it wasn't on the show or altered a bit to work for the situation. I also make a lot of specific outfit or article references that were featured on the show. To all those that watch the show avidly, you'll pick up on plenty I'm sure :)
This story is EVENTUAL Spoby in the romantic sense, and it'll take some getting there, but I promise to do my best to make it worth it! This is the shortest chapter in the story, it's just the intro, the other ones will all be pretty much double in size :)
I do not own Pretty Little Liars.
Toby Cavanaugh lifted the strap off of his shoulder and meandered through the settling students to the only available seat in the room. He sighed; it was pretty much front row centre. If he hadn't hit every red light and had an overwhelmed barista at the place he always got coffee, he would've been more on time for his first day and would've had his choice of seat. But now he was stuck with looking like the preppy, eager brunette female next to him.
She had her textbook and pens lined in perfect synchronization in the left corner of her desk. The other side had an opened notebook with her name, date, and class description written down. The class syllabus was printed and on the other side of the notebook so she could take notes and follow along at the same time.
Toby inwardly rolled his eyes. If everyone in this class was like her, he was going to fail out after one class. But he really needed a language as an elective and already had a bit of a background in French, so he would have to stick it out.
"Hello class. I'm Madame Boudreau, or you may call me Jacqueline or Jackie. Whatever you're comfortable with. Professor also works. I'm assuming the majority of you have somewhat of a background in French if you're taking a class at university level, but we will be covering the basics in this class to refresh your minds and make sure you were taught properly the first time. However, this little speech is the most English you will hear from me this entire semester." she finished, before continuing her spiel in French, putting the syllabus on the projector and leading them all through it.
Toby half-listened, silently hating first days of school. They made him anxious, the whole concept of the unknown always being a debilitating one. He subtly scanned the room, finding the class size to be about sixty, one of his smaller classes. He was grateful that this class of all classes was on the smaller size since he knew oral presentations were involved and he was never a fan of talking in front of a crowd let alone in a language he wasn't comfortable in.
After they wrapped on the syllabus, she moved right into the lesson. Toby couldn't complain though. He'd rather just get to the point rather than spend an entire hour discussing what was clearly lain out on the paper in front of him.
Finally class came to an end and he threw his stuff haphazardly in his bag. He heard a pen hit the floor and realized the brunette had dropped it. Her hair was curtaining her face from him as she peered around her chair for the fallen object.
Toby spotted it under his own seat and passed it to her, offering a small smile.
She finally looked up and smiled brightly in gratitude at him.
He tried not to stare. He hadn't expected her to be so pretty. Well, no, pretty wasn't the word. She was beautiful. Normally the super smart people in class were also lacking in the looks department a bit. It was only fair there was a bit of a balance in the world. But she seemed to have both beauty and brains. He had no confirmation that she was as intelligent as she made herself out to be with her organized ways, but he got the vibe from her that she did assignments weeks in advance and completed crosswords in minutes.
"Thanks." she murmured, her voice low and with a bit of a raspy quality to it.
He smiled involuntarily. "No problem."
Toby swung his bag over his shoulder and continued on his way. He pulled out his schedule and frowned, glancing around at the different rooms and wondering where on earth his next class was. He had gone on a tour of the university months ago and figured he'd remember the general vicinity but his brain was blank now that the halls were filled with chatty, moving bodies.
"Lost?" the same girl asked, sidling up next to him now.
He blushed. "I just don't know where my next class is. Do you know this school well enough to know where the Westmont Auditorium is?"
Her mocha eyes lit up. "You're taking Calculus?"
He nodded, smiling now as he understood why she must know that. "Is that your next class?"
"Yeah, I'll show you the way. I'm Spencer, by the way." she added, running a hand through her long mahogany waves.
"Toby." he replied. "And thank you so much. I don't know anybody here so…"
Spencer smiled reassuringly. "One of my best friends goes here but we're in different programs and have no classes that overlap. So I'm on my own too."
He followed her dutifully, weaving in and out of the student body with relative ease. Once they got up one of the brick staircases, he fell into step beside her.
"Is this your first year?" Toby asked her.
She nodded. "Yeah, I just graduated high school in June."
"And you already know this building better than me." he commented amusedly.
She laughed. "How about you? What's your story?"
He smiled. "It's my first year here. I transferred from Rhode Island School of Design after just a year of study because my dad remarried and we moved. But I have an apartment here with my step-sister now so it really was redundant."
"Do you get along well with your step-sister?" Spencer asked curiously.
Toby grimaced. "We uh… she's intense." he settled on, causing Spencer to giggle.
"I'm going to take that as a no." she teased.
He chuckled and shrugged, nodding a little. "That'd probably be wise." he agreed amusedly.
She smiled. "I have an older sister. We don't really get along the best either. We were close when we were younger, but once she went to school and had friends that weren't mandatory… well, things changed." she explained casually.
He nodded in understanding.
They seemed to have reached their destination and he read the title above the door as he entered after her. The auditorium held around two hundred students and Spencer scanned the crowd, looking for seats closer to the front.
Toby tried to hide his amusement as he settled in a spot only a few seats up from the back. There were two free seats, one on either side of him, that she was welcome to sit at if she chose or their friendly companionship could end there. He was leaving it up to her.
She settled with a sigh next to him. He raised an eyebrow at her.
"How can you even see back here? And if I have a question, I'm going to have to bellow it so the prof can hear me…" Spencer grumbled.
Toby laughed at her. "You can try to find a seat closer but I really don't think there are any. The Profs usually come around with their mike so the rest of the class can hear your question too. If you can't see, ask me. I've got twenty/twenty vision." he teased.
Spencer nodded, but looked disappointed.
"You're one of those keener types, aren't you?" Toby pressed, looking far too amused as she shot him an annoyed glare that wouldn't scare a kitten.
"I don't believe striving for excellence and high academic standing should be classified in a bad way." she told him stubbornly, pouting slightly in annoyance. He tried really hard not to find it adorable.
"It's not a bad thing, it's just entertaining to watch." he explained good-naturedly, grinning at her when she rolled her eyes, trying herself not to smirk. Her failed attempt at hiding it only made him grin wider.
Seeing his reaction, she crossed her arms, accidentally knocking her pen off her desk again.
Toby picked it up for the second time that day and leaned over to offer it to her, shaking his head amusedly at her. "You're clumsy too."
"Thank you, smart-ass." she retorted, but she flashed a sincere smile at him in thanks.
Toby pulled back and got comfortable at his desk. Spencer watched him carefully out of the corner of her eye. She hadn't noticed until he got close how blue his eyes were. They were piercing and deep, like the depths of the oceans were confined inside his irises. It also had taken her this long to realize he was really good-looking. He had great bone structure and a sweet, dimpled smile full of straight white teeth. His lips were extra pink and the tone of his skin and his build suggested he did a lot of work outside.
Thankfully for Spencer and her ogling, class began and she tore her eyes away from the man next to her to pay attention to the lesson.
She was oblivious that Toby took advantage of her distracted concentration to do similar scanning of her, also appreciating the view.
After class finished, Toby felt nervous for what happened next. He wasn't really good at making friends. He was always the quiet outcast in high school who kept to himself. It's not that he was disliked; he just didn't talk much which didn't lead to any real budding friendships.
Now that he went to university in a completely new place he hoped for new beginnings. He wasn't sure if Spencer and he were embarking on friendship or if she was just being nice.
He took his time gathering his stuff, wanting to leave at the same time as her so she didn't think he was running away from her but also allowing her to leave ahead of him if she wanted to just bid him farewell and move on with her life.
Spencer smiled at him as they walked together to a less noisy spot. "Do you have another class now?"
"No, actually I have a couple hour break." he told her, preparing for the goodbye.
"That's awesome, same here. Do you want to grab some coffee or something? I'm sort of an addict." she added with a cute giggle.
Toby smiled broadly. "That sounds awesome. I actually know where all of the coffee spots on campus are." he said bashfully.
She laughed. "You and I are going to get along just fine."
He liked the sound of that.