This is the sequel to my previous story Friend Zone. Yes, you will need to read that story first, since this is an AU and things transpire differently here than in the regular PLL world. If you choose not to read it, things won't make as much sense but you hopefully can follow along...
Reminders that, like Friend Zone, this story will feature quotes, outfits, characters, moments from the show that you may or may not remember. There will be a couple original characters involved, but only where absolutely necessary since I want this to be as PLL based as possible. But.. .well... you'll see what I mean later :) Also, the quotes I use are not always said by the correct person. In this chapter alone Hanna says something that Ali said, and Toby says something that Wren did. If you see things, feel free to point them out ;) Brownie points to all the loyal PLLers. Also, no A. Since starting this sequel, I may potentially take back the no Ali thing... but I haven't decided yet. I have to see how things go. I may in fact write a third installment in this series haha I have too much love for this couple, no matter what the writers are currently doing to them... not even going there, read Betrayal for my true feelings on THAT matter...
You guys were AMAZING last story so I hope you enjoy this one just as much :) This story is named after the Rascal Flatts song of the same name. Somehow, I just felt it fit them.
I do not own Pretty Little Liars.
It had only been two weeks since their first kiss, but it had been two weeks of bliss. Spencer and Toby had barely spent any time apart since. Their friends had been over the moon to hear about the pair finally becoming a formulated couple and they all fell in line shortly after, besides Maya and Emily who already were one.
Safe to say, things were looking up for the U Penn pair. All it took was Toby's morning routine slowing his route to school that first day of class and Spencer dropping her pen next to him at the perfect moment for their relationship to start its first steps.
They had become close friends quickly, best friends before long, and fell in love along the way. They had their obstacles to get past, both separately and together, but both were looking forward to tackling things as a united force from then on. That's when they were strongest.
After their first long awaited kiss in the hallway outside of her apartment, the two had discussed their relationship and wanting to take things slow. Both were still recovering from their most recent rough ending relationships and didn't want to complicate this one.
So far things had been pretty great. Even now, they were walking hand-in-hand along the beach. It was the same one Toby took her to the first day they had ever hung out outside of school. It had led to them going back to his apartment and Spencer admitting that she actually had a boyfriend.
But that was another story.
It was November, so they were pretty bundled up for the beach. But with the sun setting and the other close by, it didn't really matter.
"It's crazy to think of how far we've come since we've been here." Spencer said as she leaned her head against his shoulder as they strolled down the stretch of beach.
Toby smiled. "I'll say. Last time I tried to throw you in the ocean. Now I'm much more mature." he teased.
Spencer broke away from him, pulling out her challenging stance. "Oh really? Well maybe I'm not." she told him, yanking on his arm to try to drag him towards the freezing water.
Unfortunately, Toby was much stronger than she was. Fortunately, sand was not the most solid surface for holding his footing so he found himself stumbling into her.
"Two can play at that game." Toby retorted, scooping an arm behind her and lifting her over his shoulder.
"TOBY!" she squealed, causing a flock of birds to look rightfully offended a few feet away.
Spencer flailed in his arms, aiming half-hearted punches into his solid back. She twisted a certain way and he tried to catch her from actually falling, causing him to lose his own balance. They collapsed on top of each other on the sand, laughing uncontrollably.
"Okay, this is exactly like last time now." Spencer admitted through her giggles.
Toby smirked. "I have a way to change that." he teased, leaning over her body and cupping behind her ear, covering her mouth with his.
Spencer kissed him back happily, loving the feel of his lips on hers. They had kissed countless times but she swore every time he did it felt like the first time. She couldn't imagine ever getting tired of this. He always kissed her with so much affection.
Toby was the one who finally broke away, an adoring smile on his face as he swept her hair off her cheek. He pressed his lips to hers once more before pushing himself off of the ground, offering his hand which she gladly accepted.
"You know, speaking of that day…" Spencer said amusedly as she remembered back before she knew Toby was amazing as she knew him to be now. "I don't know if you noticed, but I nearly kissed you."
Toby chuckled at the memory, remembering how his insecure self convinced him out of believing the signs he read. "In the parking garage at my building?"
Spencer giggled, nodding. "So you did notice."
"Yeah… and then Jenna ruined it." he reminisced irritably.
"It was a good thing I guess. I was still with Wren then. But that was the first day I realized I was falling for you; that you were special. I originally wanted to just get that French assignment done but I easily would've spent that whole day on the beach with you." she confessed.
"But then we might not have gotten those delicious eggrolls." Toby reminded her, remembering how excited she had been when she first bit into one.
"MAN they were so good!" Spencer exclaimed, suddenly louder than before, causing him to laugh.
"We'll have to get them again soon." he teased. "For now, we've got a party to get to."
Spencer and Hanna had decided to have the four couples over to their apartment, having realized it was the first time they all had boyfriends/girlfriends at the same time in their entire friendship. Plus they hadn't gotten together as a group since the club night after midterms a few weeks previous.
Ezra, Caleb and even Toby had only hung out with everybody once but they fit in so easily it was like they had known everyone for years.
There was some music that was playing in the background but for the most part they were all just catching up and talking amongst themselves.
Caleb was consumed in a story from Ezra about Aria putting Simone in her place at the coffee shop, who was still hanging off of Ezra at every available opportunity. Ezra stood next to the couch with Aria, his arms encircling the much shorter girl in front of him with her hands interlocked with his on her belly. Caleb had been hoping a slap was involved in the story but to no avail. Aria meanwhile was interjecting corrections, giggling at Ezra's embellishments while Caleb jokingly booed at the less exciting additions to the story.
"Spence, try to come out of school mode for five minutes." Hanna begged from her end of the couch, Caleb's arm wrapped around her waist. Spencer was on her laptop at the other end.
"Hanna, second semester course selection is only two days away. I need to make sure I have my schedule perfect before I fight the rest of U Penn for the best class times. Ugh, why do they give me so much flexibility? There are so many great classes…"
"How many classes are you taking so far?" Emily asked supportively, she and Maya curled up together in the armchair closest to Hanna and Caleb. Maya was joining Caleb in listening to Ezra's retellings, laughing as she threw out suggestions of a better ending with Caleb cheering in agreement.
"Four. I'm not taking six classes this semester, just five. I only have a four-point-oh this semester and I really can't afford to let myself slide anymore." The entire room would've rolled their eyes if they were listening. "So I only need one more class."
"You should take something fun. Spencer-Hastings-level fun anyways." Hanna suggested.
"I do sort of want to take something a little different… something that will add some versatility to my résumé. I really don't want five law classes about proper procedures in business transactions and such." Spencer said irritably as she continued scrolling through. "It's got to be within my field but it is an elective…"
Her legs were lying over Toby's lap, his arm circled behind her back which was leaning against the arm rest.
"Toby… what should I take?" she pouted, causing him to smile. Everything she did he found pretty adorable.
He peered at the screen as she scrolled through the list. "Well I have an extra elective next semester too and I was considering taking something completely offbeat from my program, like healthcare ethics. The course is provided for those in the medical field but it's an open class. It discusses the issues that come up in different fields of healthcare and the rules hospitals have and stuff. It sounded interesting when I looked into it… I think you'd like it. It's that one there." He said, pointing it out on the academic calendar.
"That's perfect! If I switch these two around, we can even have break together twice a week. Thank you, Toby!" Spencer said excitedly, kissing him quickly on the mouth before copying the course ID number down.
Toby rubbed her lower back underneath her double layered tank top affectionately with his thumb. "I just can't wait to see you in a heated debate. Considering how you react in friendly games of Sorry…"
"Well come on, was it really necessary for you to knock me down that many times? I don't know how you got all of those cards at every perfect moment-"
"Why would Colonel Mustard use the candlestick in the conservatory? No one ever murders someone in the conservatory!"
"…and don't even get me started on Scrabble."
"Junker should NOT be classified as a word. And you got thirty-six points off of it!"
Toby grinned. "But it was a word. You googled it on your phone. And then I won." he added mischievously, knowing how much she hated being reminded of her losses. Somehow their nights at his apartment always ended up with them trying out a new board game.
Spencer jutted out her bottom lip even further. It was only a game but it was in her blood to be overly competitive. She was used to winning. Having Toby beat her and by so much multiple times made her skin crawl.
"You suck." she mumbled childishly, not wanting to admit how truly bothered she was. It made her skin all hot and itchy when she remembered her past fails, however small or pathetic.
The others had been watching the couple's exchange in amusement but sensing the fun was over, turned back to their conversations.
"Hey. Spence, you know I'm only teasing." Toby probed gently, caressing her face and turning it towards him to meet her eyes.
She looked down shamefully. She wished it wasn't a big deal to her but her DNA made it difficult for her to just get over it instantly. She hated her weakness of needing to be the best at everything.
"I know." she sighed.
He tucked her hair behind her ear. "You've beat me just as many times if not more. Don't be so hard on yourself, it's only for fun."
"I'm a Hastings, Toby. My family doesn't handle imperfection well." she reminded him.
"Well for the record, I'm looking and I can't find any flaws." he murmured, smiling lovingly at her, and the icy barrier she had placed around her bruised heart melted away. She smiled in return and pulled him into a tender kiss, both of them forgetting about the other inhabitants in the room.
"Alright, you two are disgustingly cute." Aria teased and they broke apart blushing crimson. "About as cute as those two." she added, nodding towards Maya and Emily. Maya was whispering something in Emily's ear that caused her to giggle and blush, shoving her playfully before returning the gesture, completely oblivious to the environment around them now.
"I'm disappointed there wasn't a slap in there." Caleb commented as Ezra wrapped up his story.
Aria rolled her eyes. "Well maybe I have more manners than your girlfriend." she teased, batting away Hanna's playful slaps.
"Bitch needed to be put in her place." Hanna said stoutly, as casual as if that was Jenna's real name.
"How have things been with Jenna since then?" Emily asked Toby, coming out of Emaya world.
"We talked and have an agreement to stay out of each other's business from now on. We've been civil. It's odd but much better than walking on eggshells. Actually, I haven't seen her much since me and Spencer got together. She's been avoiding the apartment I guess but I'm not sure where she spends her time."
"Probably out in the woods, sacrificing squirrels." Hanna snickered.
The others rolled their eyes but couldn't help but smirk a little at the cruel joke.
"To be honest, she was really nice to me after my break-up with Wren. I was at her door bawling my eyes out and she immediately took care of me… it was so unexpected. But she really has changed since their talk." Spencer said with a shrug.
Most of them looked pretty skeptical but eventually accepted it.
"Doesn't mean we're going to start inviting her to hang out with us." Toby reassured the others. "I'm not even going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow with her."
Spencer was surprised the most out of everyone; he hadn't mentioned that. "What are you doing for Thanksgiving then?"
He shrugged. "Staying here I guess."
"You should save me from my parents and come home with me." Spencer told him, squeezing his forearm.
"HA that'll go well." Hanna laughed.
Spencer shot her a dirty look.
"Oh come on, Spence, your parents are pretty intimidating." she reminded her.
"Well he's going to have to meet them some time… and they'll love him. How could they not?" she cooed to Toby who rolled his eyes at her cutesy impression as she tried not to grin. She really wasn't the cutesy girlfriend type so he knew she was only doing it to bug him.
"Just your parents?" Toby inquired and she understood what he was truly asking. He was the only one who knew the full truth of why she and Wren broke up.
"Yeah, Melissa's going to be in Washington for some fancy smart people seminar thing. My parents will probably spend the entire dinner talking about her and all she's done that I've missed. Which is why I would love an ally…" she said pointedly, swaying her eyes one direction before sweeping back up to his face.
He smirked and, knowing he was probably going to regret it, agreed. "Fine. But if I'm drowning, you better save me."
She beamed. "Of course."
"Pre-warning Toby… Spencer's parents are lawyers that founded the firm Hastings and Reiban. She has staff that dusts her books. Her house-"
"Alright, Han, I think that's enough." Spencer said, blushing as Ezra, Caleb, Maya and even Toby looked surprised. They knew she came from a higher class but they hadn't realized quite how well off her family really was.
"Spence, he should know what he's getting into. Your family is one of the richest in Rosewood." Aria reminded her kindly. "You'll be fine, Toby. They're intimidating but once they get to know you, you're golden."
Toby however missed her comment as he turned to Spencer in shock. "You live in Rosewood?"
Spencer nodded in confusion.
"Yeah, Toby we all do." Emily piped up.
He lifted his arms slightly, palms raised, in disbelief. "My parents live in Rosewood. I'm on Oakwood."
Emily and the rest of the room's eyes went wide. "That's my street. Wait! You're at number 47? The black door and the red bricks? A new, blended family only moved in there a few months ago. My mom said they had two teenagers but she didn't know their names."
Spencer started smacking Toby. "How could you leave this out? We live two streets away from each other!"
Toby laughed, wrestling her right back. "How could you leave this out? I don't know how we even came this far without knowing that."
"Looks like you guys were destined to be together no matter what." Aria commented wisely with a smirk, although they didn't need that little geographical fact to know.
The couple separated their play-fighting, aiming fake-glares at each other before Spencer was wrapped up in his arms again. They just weren't good at staying apart. He absent-mindedly stroked her calves that were in his lap.
Spencer fished her phone out of her pocket and began typing away. "Done. Now you can't get out of it." she said happily.
Toby looked bewildered. "What did you do?"
"Emailed my parents to save you a seat at Thanksgiving dinner." she said easily.
"You don't want to call them? Make sure it's okay?"
"Nope. In the Hastings household, the less personal contact, the better. Most of our interactions are through email. I used to text them when I lived at home if I was going to be home late or miss dinner or something." Spencer explained and then a beep came from her phone. She opened the message. "They look forward to meeting you."
Toby would say something about how strange her family was but he couldn't really talk. After his mom died, he barely interacted with anyone in his family, period. Except Jenna, but he'd rather not dwell on those memories.
"You haven't seen them much since graduation, have you?" Aria asked Spencer.
Toby watched his girlfriend carefully. Something was stirring in her eyes but she forced a smile. "Ah, don't you remember, 'something came up'? They didn't make it to graduation. After that, they spent all of their time working, going on business trips and fixing up the lake house. I was doing that internship so I barely saw them all summer. I've been treated like something diseased since I started dating Wren, which extends to missing important milestones in my life apparently."
"You have a LAKE HOUSE?" Caleb asked incredulously, that being the only thing he took out of her rather sad confession.
Spencer laughed. "It's been in the family for a while. It's mostly filled with my nana's old furniture. We should all go next summer though. Conveniently enough, there are four bedrooms."
Caleb made a disbelieving noise while the others smirked.
"When Spencer says lake house… she means HOUSE. It's not just some small low life cabin. It even has an attic." Hanna explained sympathetically to Caleb.
Spencer corrected her throat, wanting the subject change desperately. People always got weird when she talked about her family's wealth and frankly, she didn't like to talk about it in the first place. No matter what kind of tone you used or how you said it, it always seemed like bragging. Spencer knew full well she had been much more fortunate than most. But it didn't stop her from getting accusatory glances every time money was brought up.
"I think that sounds like a blast." Toby inputted, causing Spencer to smile gratefully at him. He could see she was uncomfortable. He wouldn't tell her that he was secretly excited at the thought of her having faith that they would be together over six months from now.
"I wish it wasn't almost winter and we could go now… that lake is so beautiful in the summer." Emily said dreamily.
"You guys should start training now if you have any hopes of keeping up with Em, the fish, in that water." Maya said affectionately, the pride in her girlfriend's talents clear as day. Emily grinned happily at her, interlocking their fingers in their overlapping laps.
Spencer's phone beeped again and she pulled out. She made a face. "Oh joy. My parents say they have a surprise for me when we come. No concerns there."
Toby rubbed her knee comfortingly. "Maybe it'll be a good thing."
Spencer laughed. "Yeah… right. Once you meet them, you'll see what I mean."
Toby grimaced. He was getting more nervous by the minute.