Title: Wicked games
Summary: What if Spencer's dislike towards Paige came from something more than suspicion? Paily with Unrequited McHastings.
Word count: 3,236
A/N: The lyrics (and the title) are from 'Wicked games' by James Vincent McMorrow (I prefer that cover).
A/N2: I decided to continue this due to a number of requests so I hope you guys enjoy! And thank you for the reviews, they're greatly appreciated. :)
What a wicked game you play, you make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, make me dream of you
Spencer was in the process of taking her biology textbook from her locker when the voice sounded suddenly from her left. She glanced in that direction and her heart dropped when she saw Paige hovering nervously next to her. Sighing, she turned back to her locker. Thankfully the hallways were pretty crowded so there was little chance of Spencer losing control of herself again. "Do you want something?"
"I want to talk about what happened on Monday."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Spencer denied without so much as sparing Paige a glance. Instead she proceeded to shut her locker and hefted her books up into her arms.
"I'm talking about when you kissed me." Paige elaborated quietly.
Despite the low volume of Paige's voice Spencer cast a furtive look around the corridor to make sure that nobody had heard anything. When she was satisfied that they hadn't been overheard she turned back to Paige and glared at her. "I don't want to talk about that. It was a mistake."
"Spencer, I really think we should talk about this." Paige argued, meeting Spencer's nervous eyes.
"Please? I think it would help both of us." Paige pushed hopefully. "It's just one conversation."
"Fine." Spencer relented irritably, if just to shut Paige up. "But not here. We'll talk after school."
"My parents won't be at home tonight so you could come over." Paige offered thoughtfully.
"Yeah, I really don't think that's a good idea." Spencer disagreed, recalling the last time she'd been alone with Paige.
"Oh…okay, somewhere crowded then." Paige suggested with a sheepish shrug. "I'll think of somewhere and text you later."
"Okay." Spencer nodded quickly. "Well I have to get to class." Without further ado she turned on her heel and walked down the corridor leaving Paige standing next to the lockers.
Paige watched Spencer go in troubled silence, vaguely wondering why she was even trying to help her. The answer was as glaringly obvious to her as it had been for the past two days she'd spent thinking about it. She wanted to offer Spencer the same help Emily had offered her. She shook her head at the thought. Obviously it wouldn't be exactly the same kind of help because Paige didn't see Spencer as a potential love interest like Emily had with her. Paige jolted from her thoughts when arms slid around her waist.
Paige instantly relaxed when she heard Emily whisper the greeting into her ear. Turning around in Emily's loose embrace she offered her a small smile. "Hi."
"What was that about?" Emily asked. Paige was briefly confused until Emily continued with a hint of hope in her voice. "Are you and Spencer finally on speaking terms?"
"Oh…that." Paige chuckled nervously. "No, we're not. She still hates me."
"She doesn't hate you." Emily frowned like she always did when Paige suggested Spencer's dislike for her was stronger than it was. "She's just being Spencer."
"You're probably right." Paige agreed, not really wanting to dwell on the topic of Spencer. "Come on, we should get to class."
"You're in a hurry to get to math?" Emily smirked. "Who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?"
"Ha-ha." Paige deadpanned as she slipped her hand into Emily's and proceeded to tug her down the corridor towards their next class.
Paige had been sitting in the Apple Rose Grille for around twenty minutes before Spencer finally showed up ten minutes late. Paige perked up when she saw her and setting her phone down, she watched as Spencer glanced quickly around before approaching the table.
Spencer sank into the seat opposite Paige, allowing her bag to drop to the floor. "Sorry I'm late, I got held up at home."
"Don't worry about it, angry birds kept me company."
Paige's nervous attempt at a joke fell flat and Spencer coughed awkwardly. "Right."
"Do you want a coffee or something?" Paige asked politely, preparing to wave the waiter down.
"No, I'm fine." Spencer answered with a shake of her head. "I've hit my daily caffeine limit already. If I have any more I'll be up all night."
"Okay." Paige said sinking back into her seat. "So um…how is everything?"
"We don't have to do that." Spencer said quickly. "We don't have to make small talk and you don't have to pretend to care about how my day has been."
"Okay." Paige said slowly, trying to think of a different way to approach the situation.
"On second thoughts, I think I will need a coffee." Spotting an approaching waiter, Spencer lifted her hand and waved him over.
Paige watched thoughtfully as Spencer ordered her coffee, black with two sugars. It seemed like the conversation was going to be more difficult than she'd originally thought. She distracted herself by picking up her own cup to take a sip of her coffee. It had been standing for ten minutes so it was only lukewarm but it was still drinkable.
"Did you tell Emily about this?"
Paige looked up to see Spencer watching her intently. "No."
"The Grille isn't very out of the way." Spencer observed, casting a sceptical look around at the restaurant she frequented with her friends.
"Emily's busy with Hanna and she thinks I'm studying for a test." Paige responded, guilt churning in her stomach at the thought of lying to her girlfriend. "She saw us talking next to your locker today."
Spencer looked even more worried than before. "And you told her…?"
"Nothing, I told her we still aren't on speaking terms." Paige shrugged, glancing down at the table. Lying to Emily was the very last thing she wanted to do but it wasn't Paige's place to tell her about Spencer's feelings. "Spencer…"
Paige trailed off when the waiter reappeared with Spencer's coffee and set it on the table. She waited until Spencer thanked him and he walked off before speaking up again. "Do you like girls Spencer?"
"I…" Spencer wavered for a moment before shrugging. "I never have before."
"And now?" Paige probed curiously.
"I don't like you." Spencer glared defensively. "I already told you."
"Do you kiss everyone you hate?" Paige retorted, raising a questioning eyebrow.
Spencer heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes skyward.
"Sorry." Paige apologised sincerely, dropping her gaze to her rapidly cooling coffee. "I'm just trying to understand. I mean I think I understand already because of what I went through last year but I want to understand this from your point of view because I want to help you and…"
"Has anyone ever told you that you babble a lot when you're nervous?"
Paige paused and looked back up. She was surprised to find that a small smile was tugging at Spencer's lips but she quickly returned it. "Yeah, sorry. It's kind of a nervous habit."
Spencer shook her head and glanced down at the table, her smile quickly dropping. "I do like you."
"Oh…good." Paige said sounding slightly surprised to actually hear the words come out of Spencer's mouth. Spencer looked up with a frown and Paige quickly continued. "I mean not good but good as in…you made progress by saying it out loud."
Not quite sure how to respond to that Spencer picked up her cup of coffee and gently blew on it before taking a tentative sip. It still burnt her tongue but the familiar taste offered a certain degree of comfort.
Paige was silent for a couple of long moments too, lost as to how to continue the conversation. "So we've established that you feel more for me than hatred."
"I thought the way I tried to take you against a locker yesterday made that pretty obvious." Spencer said, her gaze smouldering as she looked at Paige over the rim of her coffee cup.
Paige ducked her head with a nervous laugh, her cheeks flushing red at the visual image, not because she was interested in the idea but because it was an automatic response to someone expressing that they were attracted to her. Even Emily was still met with the same reaction. "So if I hadn't stopped you…"
"Yes." Spencer answered simply. She didn't elaborate. She didn't have to.
"Right." Paige nervously chewed on her bottom lip for a couple of moments before she looked back up at Spencer. "You know I'm in love with Emily, right? Nothing can happen between us."
"Of course I know that!" Spencer exclaimed, setting her cup down rather abruptly. "Why else do you think I've been avoiding you for the past couple of months?"
"It's been that long?" Paige asked in surprise. She'd thought that Spencer had just disliked her during that time and that the attraction was a relatively new problem.
"Maybe longer." Spencer said dismissively, still focused on the topic of Emily. "But you have to know that I would never do anything to hurt Emily. She's my best friend."
"I was just putting that out there." Paige said with a sheepish shrug. "I'm not exactly used to this."
"Well neither am I." Spencer muttered. They fell into a short silence during which Paige distracted herself with her close to cold coffee. Finally Spencer spoke up, almost as an afterthought. "Just out of curiosity, if you weren't with Emily would you be…?"
"Attracted to you?" Paige finished knowingly when Spencer trailed of. Spencer nodded and Paige took a moment to think about the question before answering. "Yes. If I wasn't with Emily you would be exactly the kind of person I would be attracted to."
"Oh." Spencer nodded numbly. She wasn't sure if the admission made her feel better or worse about the situation. An awkward silence settle between them for a few minutes before she finally spoke up again. "You're not going to tell Emily that I like you, are you?"
Paige didn't answer for a long moment, taking the time to mentally weigh up the pros and cons of not telling Emily about what was going on. "I already told her that someone kissed me but…"
"What?!" Spencer looked up, her expression awash with horror. "You told her?"
"I didn't tell her it was you but I couldn't keep something like that from her."
"Paige." Spencer reached across the table and grasped Paige's hand, a somewhat desperate look in her eyes. "You can't tell her. If she finds out she'll hate me. I can't lose Emily. Please, please just promise you won't tell her."
"Okay." Paige nodded reluctantly. "I promise I won't tell her."
"Thank you." Spencer sighed in relief. "Emily is one of my best friends. I don't know what I would do if that was ever ruined."
"I don't know what she would do either." Paige admitted softly.
Spencer realised that she was still gripping Paige's hand and she quickly pulled her own away with an embarrassed expression on her face. She busied herself with drinking the rest of her coffee, determined not to dwell on the touch.
"Could I make a suggestion though?" Paige asked warily as she watched Spencer intently. She was answered with a shrug and took that as permission to continue. "Emily has noticed that you've been avoiding her. Maybe you should stop doing that if you really don't want to hurt her."
"I don't." Spencer said, a flash of irritation crossing her features.
"You're hurting her by pushing her away." Paige said in a voice that was far too soft to be accusatory.
"What else am I supposed to do when I can't even look her in the eye?" Spencer asked, her voice cracking slightly with emotion. "I can't be around her without hating myself for what I'm doing to her."
Paige was struck speechless as she took in the signs of Spencer's obvious distress.
"I should be going anyway." Spencer finally said, looking away from Paige's intense gaze. "I have to get home."
"Oh." Paige frowned as she watched Spencer stand up from the table. She hadn't really done or said anything to help Spencer in any way despite her intentions too. "Maybe we could talk again sometime."
"Why?" Spencer asked suspiciously.
"I know what it's like to be in your situation," Paige answered with a shrug, "Having someone to talk to helps. Or so I've heard."
Spencer chose not to point out that their situations weren't exactly the same but settled on nodding in response. "Yeah, okay. I'll see you later."
"Bye." Paige replied automatically as she watched Spencer turn and walk away from the table.
"So why aren't you with Paige tonight?" Hanna finally asked. She'd succeeded in putting the question off for all of an hour before curiosity had overwhelmed her, causing her to blurt the question out.
"She's busy." Emily answered from her cross legged position on the bed across from Hanna. "Why? Am I boring you?"
"No." Hanna said with a roll of her eyes. "I was just wondering, that's all. You guys have been attached at the hip since…" she trailed off and looked away awkwardly.
"It's okay to say it Hanna." Emily smiled sadly. "I'm not going to break."
"I didn't think you were." Hanna looked back up to meet Emily's eyes. "But I don't like to think about it."
"I know." Emily murmured understandingly. The months after the events at the cabin had been hard on all of them but they'd been especially hard on Emily, Paige, Hanna and Caleb who had all suffered some kind of trauma that night. For the first few weeks after the incident Hanna had alternated between clinging to Caleb and Emily, terrified for their safety. The sombre mood was thankfully interrupted by Aria's arrival.
"Hey." Aria greeted miserably as she walked into Hanna's bedroom and dropped unceremoniously onto the bed between Hanna and Emily. Lying back, she draped her arm across her eyes to block out the light.
"Bad date?" Emily asked sympathetically.
"You have no idea." Aria groaned. "Ezra had to leave halfway through again."
Emily noticed Hanna smirk and shot her a look, silently telling her not to voice whatever sexual innuendo she was thinking about. "Why?"
"His mother," Aria sighed and dropped her arm to her side. "I guess that's what I get for having a boyfriend whose mother hates me."
Hanna sympathetically patted Aria's shoulder.
"If it makes you feel any better Paige's parents still think I'm the devil incarnate." Emily feebly attempted to cheer Aria up. It worked, though not for the reason she'd been aiming for.
Aria brightened slightly and leaned up on her elbows. "You must be happy that Paige and Spencer are finally getting along though."
Emily looked confused by the statement. "What do you mean?"
"I just saw them hanging out at the Grille." Aria explained almost cheerfully, despite her low mood from a couple of seconds ago. "They seemed pretty chummy."
"Paige and Spencer?" Emily asked sceptically. "Are you sure?"
"Positive." Aria nodded in confirmation.
"Maybe they're bonding over who's the most neurotic." Hanna smirked with a roll of her eyes, only to cringe right after she said it. Surprisingly Emily didn't rebuke the suggestion and both Aria and Hanna shot her a look.
"Em?" Hanna waved a hand in front of Emily's face. "I just called your girlfriend neurotic."
"Oh right." Emily shook her head as if to clear it. "Don't do that."
"Are you okay?" Aria asked in concern. "I thought you'd be happy that Spencer and Paige are finally getting along."
"I am." Emily said, forcing a smile to her lips. "Sorry, I was just thinking about something."
"Oh my God, you totally miss her!" Hanna exclaimed with a grin.
"Yeah, something like that." Emily agreed, relieved that Hanna had come up with an excuse for her.
"You're so adorable." Hanna teased, reaching over to playfully pinch Emily's cheek. Aria laughed at the action while Emily lightly batted Hanna's hand away with a half-hearted glare.
"I'm going to find a movie." Hanna announced, bouncing to her feet. "Aria…"
"I'll make popcorn." Aria knowingly interrupted. "Emily will help, won't you Em?"
"Sure." Emily agreed with a shrug. Aria and Emily got to their feet and the trio set off to fulfil their allocated tasks, their previous topic of discussion all but forgotten about.
Emily was just about to climb into bed when her cell phone began to vibrate insistently on her nightstand. She picked it up and checked the caller ID to find that it was Paige. She hesitated for a moment with her finger over the answer button before she finally picked up.
"Hi." Paige replied cheerfully. "I was thinking about you so I thought I'd call to say goodnight."
Emily smiled despite her troubled thoughts as she moved to slip under the covers. "You were?"
"I was." Paige confirmed, her voice softening ever so slightly. "I missed you today."
"We've only been apart for seven hours." Emily pointed out reasonably.
"So? Didn't you miss me?"
Emily could practically hear the playful pout through the phone and she shook her head, a soft laugh escaping her lips. "Of course I did."
"See?" Paige asked triumphantly. "Where are you anyway?"
"I'm at home."
"In bed?" Paige prompted suggestively.
"Yes in bed." Emily said, rolling her eyes fondly. "It is almost midnight."
"Did I wake you?" Paige asked, a hint of worry creeping into her voice.
"No." Emily answered tightening her grip on the phone. There was a beat of silence before she hesitantly continued. "How did studying go?"
"It was fine." Paige responded carefully. "I would have preferred if you'd been with me though."
"Why? Were you studying alone?"
"Yeah." Paige sighed forlornly. "If it wasn't so impossible to concentrate on studying when you're around you could have come over."
Emily frowned at the blatant lie. If Aria had seen Paige and Spencer at the Grille together there was no way Paige could have been studying alone at home. "I could have come over after you finished."
"I didn't finish until a couple of hours ago."
Emily quickly worked out that two hours ago would have been approximately ten o clock, three hours after Aria claimed to have seen Spencer and Paige at the Grille. It was impossible for Paige to have been studying at home alone and hanging out with Spencer at the Grille so Paige was obviously lying. A chilling sense of unease crept up on Emily when she realised that was the second lie Paige had told her that day if she took into account that afternoon when Paige had told her that Spencer still 'hated her'. That wouldn't make sense at all if Spencer was spending time with Paige all of a sudden.
Paige's voice broke through Emily's thoughts, causing her to jolt slightly. "Huh?"
"You haven't said anything for the past two minutes." Paige chuckled softly before her voice took on a slightly more serious tone. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I'm fine. I zoned out for a second." Emily said with a shake of her head. "Sorry, I'm just tired."
"I guess I should let you get some sleep then." Paige teased lightly. "I'll talk to you tomorrow?"
"Sure." Emily answered distractedly. "Goodnight."
"'Night Em." Paige responded warmly.
Emily cut the call off and rolled onto her side to set her phone back on the nightstand. Hugging the covers close she couldn't help but worry about what Paige was hiding until sleep finally overpowered her.