Author's Note: Hey folks! I wrote this up in some sort of frenzy, but I hope you all enjoy it nonetheless. Just changing things up a bit. It was really fun to write! :) Anyway, I hope you're all having a good week so far. Cheers to the weekends!
Brian1127: Thank you so much for you kind words! :) It's just amateur writing, you know? No need to be jealous of anything. I have utter respect and admiration for people who chooses to write and publish it publicly. Kudos to you! Thank you so much for the six stars for chapter 19! That is a lot of stars…and I really appreciate the over-the-top rating. Hahaha Also, thank you so much for your words of encouragement and telling me to keep writing. I hope you enjoy this chapter just as much as I enjoyed writing it, and have a wonderful day!
Emsy: Thank you for reading and reviewing! I'm quite humbled by the nice things you had to say about me. You're pretty awesome yourself. I hope you like this chapter and I'll look forward to hearing from you next time. Please have a nice day! :)
cmart91cm: Crystal, I loved that you enjoy me using Emily's line from the PLL show for Paige in this story. I wanted to bring back a sense of familiarity for both of the characters, but also be able to create my own idiosyncratic qualities for the two of them :) I'm so glad I've got you laughing too. I thought it was an amusing scene to write. I didn't like Lena's hands on Paige at all when I actually reread what I wrote. Hahaha Thank you for coming back to read and review! I haven't gotten a chance to catch up with all the other Paily fanfics yet, but I hope you're still writing. :) Hope you enjoy this chapter, and I wish you a wonderful day ahead!
Nacray: Thank you for sending your love and review for chapter 19. I will try my best to keep up with the "intense moments" as I possibly can. I hope that you'll enjoy this chapter as well. Please have a nice day! :)
Jamscottroc54: Well, well, well. If it isn't the troublemaker who's always threatening the lives of my characters. ;) I'm glad I've gotten to you as well as I have. It's been a pleasure to have you come back to read and review every time. Do you, like, literally write comments/remarks as you're reading? I mean, I can't ever remember being that descriptive and recalling so many parts while I review other fanfics. lol I'm glad I made you cry. It's such a wonderful feeling. *sighs* hahahaha I hope you'll enjoy this chapter, little one. Can't wait to hear from you soon. :)
Jes Angell: Thank you so much reading and reviewing! Um…Paily feels?! Really? You felt it? ;D That is so exciting! I'm kind-of giddy knowing I gave you a little scare there. Thank you so much for your kind words! I try to write Paily to the best of my abilities. :) I'll see what I can do about your requests for more scenes like that in the future chapters. I hope you enjoy this segment! Have a wonderful day! :)
Mysunshine: Hello! I felt a bit speechless by the end of your review. ;) Thank you so much for your kind words. English isn't your native language? Are you kidding me? I wouldn't have been able to tell if you didn't tell me. What is your native language then? Thank you so much for commenting on the swim meet. I felt like it was a very intense scene to write, and I tried to incorporate as much detail as I can so that the scene can come alive through my writing. :) Well, I really hope you enjoy this chapter, and I wish you a wonderful day!
JessRawrs: Thank you for coming back to read and review! :) It is my pleasure to write this story and I'm really glad that you love it. To answer your question, I don't draw anything for this story from personal experience. It's all fiction. :) I'm glad that I've made it appear real enough for you though. Thank you for telling me that, because it makes me very happy to know of it. :) I hope you enjoy this chapter, and please have a beautiful day ahead!
Del: I am completely in love with the ending of chapter 19 as well. I think that's got to be one of my favorite phrases, and it was so perfect to use at the end of that chapter. Thank you so much for coming back to read and review, and always for being so understanding about the updates. I really appreciate your support and patience with this story. It's truly amazing that you've stick it out this long with me, Del. ;) I'm so glad that chapter 20 didn't disappoint as well. I hope that you enjoy this chapter. Have a beautiful day ahead! :)
Marmoreck: Hi Juliette! It's really nice to hear from you! I'm really glad you're enjoying the two previous chapters. I'm pleased that you love Emily's little impromptu speech in chapter 19. It was a bit emotional to write, and I'm happy that the emotions got through the writing. :) I hope you enjoy this chapter and have a lovely day!
Rain'sMistress: Thank you for coming back to read and reviewing, Teddy. I enjoy the few quotes I used in chapter 19 as well, especially the last phrase at the end of the chapter. Thank you so much for your kind words, Teddy. Can't wait to hear back from you soon. Until then. :)
Cici: I do try to draw some distinctive qualities of the PLL character and bring them into this story. It is fan fiction after all, right? ;) I love that you're able to able to draw out scenes that relates it back to the show. It's truly my intention. :) I felt like I was writing for you when I wrote this chapter, and I hope it doesn't disappoint. You had a lot of inquiries before, and now I'm answering some of them…although you keep on bringing more and more questions to the table. Hahahaha I surely hope you enjoy this chapter, and please, have a wonderful day! :)
MindFullofStories: I felt like I had to throw the word Paily in somewhere. Hahaha It was fun! Oh god, you're going to threaten to stab another one of my characters now? From a scale of 1-10, how infuriated were you when Lena tried to seduce Paige? ;) Thank you so much for coming back to read and review, Lil! I hope you enjoy this chapter and have a pleasant day ahead! :)
Sazar: You fangirl screamed?! No way! hahahahaa That is so funny to hear coming from you, since you always seem so calm and collected. :p I'm glad the coming back together scene worked out well. I was hoping it did, and I can feel relieved now hearing that from you. I feel like I'm in the same boat with you. I didn't think this story was going to have this much reception and be received so well. :) Thank you for always coming back to read, review, and support this story. It still truly means a lot to me. I hope that you enjoy this chapter, and please have a lovely day ahead!
Gigabyte1: I'm happy I can keep you entertained on your train rides, Arantxa. :) It's definitely my pleasure to be able to write this story. I'm glad you found chapter 19 to be a sweet chapter. I hope to write more of those in the future. ;) I also hope that you enjoy this chapter. Please have a good day ahead! :)
Hipnos7777: You're very observant and raise a lot of good questions, and I think this chapter will answer some of them. Hahahaha I do hope that you enjoy it, Anna. Thank you so much for coming back to read and review. It's always so nice hearing from you. :) I wish you a beautiful day ahead!
Pokiepup: Hey, no grumpyface allowed here if you don't update! :p I'm glad that my writing makes you get lost in the story. It is so incredibly humbling to hear those words from you. Thank you so much for your kind words, Michelle. :) This chapter is the usual length. I hope you enjoy the chapter, and please have a wonderful day!
Paily lover: How on earth can you stand reading chapter 19 four times?! That is crazy, Jamie! Well, happy panda, I hope you'll enjoy this chapter. Patience is a virtue, and you earned this. ;) I hope it doesn't disappoint. Thank so much for coming back to read and review every time! Please have a good day! :)
bamary: Thank you so much for coming back to read and review! I'm curious though, where are you from? :) Is there a name I can address you by the next time you review? I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I wish you a good day! :)
Nae10: Missed you too, Nae! I've been busy and have been itching to write, of course. :) Glad you thought the chapter was good even though it was short. ;) I hope you enjoy this chapter too! Can't wait to hear from you again. :) Have a beautiful day!
Disclaimers: I do not own Pretty Little Liars.
I knocked on the door and waited patiently as footsteps neared. After a few seconds, I heard the door open and I smiled as Dr. Sullivan came into view.
"Hey Dr. Sullivan," I smiled as I sidestepped her to get into the room. After I settled down in the couch, I looked up to see that she was still standing by the door and shaking her head at me.
"Now Paige, how many times have I told you to call me Anne?" she smiled before striding over to the lone chair facing the sofa and sitting down unhurriedly.
"Old habits die hard." I shrugged and then took a glance around her office. It was spacious and organized. Every part of the room appeared to have been given meticulous attention to. The room was mostly white and elegantly furnished with black and grey furniture. It created a certain calm ambiance, and if one added Dr. Sullivan's character to the place, the room was completed with just the right amount of comfort.
"Well, shall we get started then?" Dr. Sullivan pulled me out of my thoughts. I turned to look at her and slightly nodded before shifting a bit in my seat to get cozy. She looked at me expectantly to go on and I grinned for a while to gather my thoughts before I started speaking.
"I had a swim meet two days ago, and we won most of the events." I beamed but try to stay calm and collected in my seat.
"Congratulations, and how does that make you feel?" she inquired.
"Great, of course! I also helped set two new records for my school!" I exclaimed excitedly. She smiled at me and observed me with curious eyes.
"Did you go celebrate afterwards?" she asked.
"Yeah… We did…" I breathed out.
The girls had already left to get seats at Allegro Pizza and that had left Emily and me alone in the natatorium. That moment we shared together was forever ingrained in my memories. It was everything I've ever wanted…and more.
I hadn't realized how lucky I was until I opened my eyes to stare at her while she was still lost in our kiss. I breathed out heavily as she opened her eyes. I'd never met a person who could express so much emotion with their eyes. Looking into her eyes, I really couldn't find it in myself believe that she still loves me. I finally realized that after all this time I had hurt her and right before I could plead for her forgiveness, I could see it in her eyes that she's already given it to me.
"Can I have a second chance?" I hesitantly asked even though I felt I knew the answer to my rhetorical question. I searched her eyes for any signs of reluctance and doubt, but I saw that they were nonexistent in her brown orbs.
As I stared at her, hours must've passed before I finally heard the faintest whisper from her, "Yes."
"Thank you. You don't…know how much that means to me." I expressed. My emotions got to the point where I felt incredibly overwhelmed, and I pulled her into my arms as I held onto her with all the strength that I could muster.
"Trust me, I do." she spoke softly into my ear. I buried my face into her beautiful brown tresses and inhaled her scent. I smiled as the familiar smell of faint lavender and sweet vanilla mixed with chlorine filled my nostrils. I sighed contently and loosen my hold on Emily. She pulled back all the way as her hands trailed from my shoulders, down the length of my arms, and finally held onto my hands. I looked up to find her eyes and she smiled shyly before glancing down briefly. I pulled one of my hands out of her hold and lifted it up to rest my fingers beneath her chin. Slowly, I lifted her chin up so that I could catch her eyes again. I saw the blush creeping up her neck and it finally consumed her cheeks when she allowed her eyes to rest upon mine.
"Don't look away." I whispered the words she used to always tell me. She opened her mouth slightly and let out a quivering breath. I slowly leaned in and my eyes dropped down to her lips momentarily before I brought them back up to stare at her. She leaned her head to the right a bit and her eyes never faltered as she inched forward towards me. We were merely a breath away, and I finally leaned in and closed the small gap between us, capturing her lips with mine.
My heart soared as I held her lips in place. I begin to feel her kissing me back and our lips started to move in sync as I felt her hand snaked around my neck to pull me closer. I followed her lead and moved in, while my hands found their way to the hem of her t-shirt. The fabric material bunched in my hands as I tried to restrain myself from pouncing on her. Not here. As I felt myself beginning to struggle with control, I reluctantly pulled away and rested my forehead against hers. We were both panting and with eyes closed, I couldn't imagine how I'd deal if I was to see the sight of her breathing heavily. We gradually regained our normal breathing again and I finally opened my eyes to see that hers were still closed. I pulled her into my arms as she rested her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms around my middle. Leaning down, I kissed the top of her head and rested my head on top of hers. My arms wrapped around her shoulders, and I closed my eyes to breathe out a contented sigh. She moved slightly in my arms and I looked down to see if she was comfortable. Before I could ask, I heard her let out a happy sigh of her own. I smiled and kissed the top of her head once more.
"You're so adorable." I cooed. She lifted her head up and I looked down to meet her smiling eyes. I watched as she bit down on her bottom lip, and I felt myself immediately swooned at the sight.
"Can we just…go home and watch a movie? I mean, I know you might want to celebrate after setting two new records, but – " I swooped down and kissed her as she mumbled against my mouth before the words died upon her lips. I pulled away and smiled at her lovingly.
"Yes." I answered before I leaned in and brushed my lips against hers again, and I glowed as she smiled against my lips too.
"That's good. You seem to be in a much more cheerful mood than the last time I saw you. How are you dealing with the stress of school and swimming?" Dr. Sullivan question snapped me out of my half-conscious state.
"It's alright, I suppose. Honestly, the pressure that I'm dealing with right now is almost nothing compared to what I had to handle during high school." I admitted. The memories of my high school days came flooding back, and I winced at the recollection of my younger days when I felt the overwhelming stress with my dad's expectations of who I was to become. I looked over to Dr. Sullivan and saw her nodding slowly and trying to process my words carefully.
"I remember. You were a bundle of nerves back then." she let out a small laugh. I grinned and remembered back to the first couple of visits I had with her.
"I'm better now. Or at least, I think I am." I smiled.
"Any new addictions since the last time I saw you?" she wrote in her notes as she asked me. Emily. I gulped as the thoughts invaded my mind. I tried to push them back, seeing that it was a little inappropriate to have such thoughts while I was here. Who was I kidding? I could tell Dr. Sullivan that I've been seeing a figure in a monstrous rabbit costume like Donny Darko, and she wouldn't even deemed that as anything inappropriate.
"Paige?" Dr. Sullivan said my name and I looked up to see her staring at me expectantly.
"Oh. No. Well…yes…but…no?" I answered confusingly. Dr. Sullivan raised both eyebrows and stared at me, expecting for me to go on and give her an explanation, but the words wouldn't come out at all.
"Is it a drug addiction?" she questioned me. I shook my head in response.
"Is it a sexual addiction?" Dr. Sullivan decided to ask. My eyes widened in surprise and I shake my head vehemently.
"Oh God, no!" I laughed while she smiled at me.
"Paige, are you having sexual intercourse?" she asked me. My eyes must've bulged out of my eye sockets by now as I let out an incredulous laugh. Before I could open my mouth to respond, Dr. Sullivan went on, "It's okay, Paige. There's nothing wrong with admitting to having sex. Remember, this is just one of the routine questions." I blinked quickly several times before I could gather my thoughts together. God, two years and I'm still not used to these unambiguous questions.
"Well, actually…" Crap, how do I explain this to her?
"Go on." she said to give me a little push. I sighed and slumped back against the sofa.
"Emily and I are back together. Since the meet two days ago." I admitted to her.
"Emily Fields?" she asked. I nodded to affirm her inquiry. "And are you and…Emily having sex?" My eyes widened once more, face flushing, and I looked at her as if she just asked the most ridiculous question.
"N-no, we're not…" I mumbled but I was pretty certain she heard me since my voice seemed to be bouncing off the walls in this spacious room with only two occupants in it.
"So, no addiction, correct?" I nodded and she went back to writing notes. I looked away briefly and let out an uneasy breath.
"Do you want to tell me about Emily?" Dr. Sullivan asked. I returned my gaze to where she was sitting, and I thought about it for a moment before I nodded. I looked down at my hands that were now fumbling around from my nerves.
"I'm scared." I whispered while I let my gaze remain on my entwined hands.
"What is it are you scared of, dear?" she spoke softly.
"Everything." I responded. I finally looked up to see her observing me.
"It isn't like you to be fearful, Paige. In fact, I'm not sure if it's a good thing…if Emily shows up and makes you feel this way." she noted. My next breath shudder as my mind processed her words. Emily wasn't good for me?
"I don't understand. W-why?" I stuttered.
"This…fear you currently feel…it could escalate and incite your condition. Schizophrenics have are known to have chronic fears, Paige. It is one of the symptoms." she explained in an uncomplicated way.
"Are you suggesting that I stop seeing Emily?" I asked. My voice cracked towards the end of the question.
"No, I'm not suggesting anything. How about we explore this and see why you're scared of everything, alright? Tell me to the best of your abilities what exactly it is that you're afraid of." she said sincerely.
"I don't know… I just feel so…overwhelmed whenever she's around, I guess. I'm not sure if it is even fear for myself. I might be scared for her. What if God decides to take me back? How will she cope with my loss? What if it's just temporary bliss?" I went on almost like it was a childish prattle.
"Paige, we don't know if you've developed schizophrenia. At this point, I wish I could go ahead and proclaim that you are schizophrenia-free, but that would be very unprofessional of me to do so." She paused for a moment before continuing, "I've been observing you for a long time, and although we haven't reached a conclusion yet, you are safe right now." she spoke candidly.
"I know... It's just…I can't help it. That's how my thought process and emotions seems to be working lately." In overdrive too. I sighed while I leaned back into the cushioned sofa.
"Now, now, don't go sulking back into that depressive state. Although it truly concerns me that you're constantly thinking about the repercussions of your actions, especially where Emily is concerned, I'm also aware that this might take some time getting used to. I suggest that you let the emotions ride out for a little bit, and then you can decide what's best for you and your partner, alright? Does Emily know about your condition?" Dr. Sullivan inquired. I nodded and then sighed.
"Good. May I suggest, it wouldn't be a bad idea to share these fears you have with her." she said as I watched her scribbling away in her notebook. I looked away briefly while nodding at her suggestion. I guess. We'll see.
"I'm not particularly worried about your diet seeing that you are a swimmer. Is there anything else you'd like to discuss with me?" Dr. Sullivan asked as her eyes softened.
"How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" I asked after a few moments of silence and smiled innocently.
"A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood." she smiled at me as my jaw dropped when she answered the riddle. No one's ever done that ever.
"Anything else you'd like to add, Miss McCullers?" she playfully asked.
"No, Dr. Sullivan. Am I free to go?" I smiled. She lifted up her wrist and looked at the time before glancing up at me and nodded. We both stood up and she walked me to the door before telling me about the date and time of my appointment in the next month.
As I walked out to my car, I reflected on our conversation and felt like a heavy weight has been lifted, even though I still feel a hint of anxiety. I just needed to have a more positive outlook on this whole situation. My phone suddenly beeped and I took it out of my pocket to see a text message.
Wanna grab coffee with me at L&M? – Spencer
I smiled and quickly typed out a message.
I'm in Rosewood. About to drive back. Meet you there in an hour?
I sent the message and opened my car door to get into the driver's seat. After the starting the car, I began my drive out of Rosewood. About ten minutes into the drive back to Philly, I heard my phone beeped to alert me that there was a new text message.
I shall wait patiently before I see you. – Keats
I laughed as I read her text message. Spencer was anything but patient. I typed back a response.
Don't try too hard to wait "patiently". See you in a bit.
The rest of the drive back to University City was filled with thoughts and reflections about my session with Dr. Sullivan. I couldn't help but think about what she said of Emily the entire way. What if being in a relationship with Emily was causing the adverse effect for my condition?
I walked into Lovers & Madmen and headed straight for the counter where Melanie was standing behind.
"The usual?" she asked and I nodded. She went ahead and started on my coffee while I looked around the coffee shop to see if Spencer was already seated. As predicted, she was already settled in at the far end near the corner inside of the coffee shop. She was staring at me and smiling, and I nodded to acknowledge her greeting. I turned around and saw that Melanie was still making her way over to me. I gave her the exact amount of the coffee and she told me that it was no problem and she'd bring my drink over. I thanked her and began striding over to where Spencer was.
"How long have you been waiting?" I asked as I sat down and set my bag to the side on the table.
"Not long." she responded before bringing the cup of coffee to her face. She sipped it slowly and then licked the foam off the corner of her lips. I felt a tad bit uneasy at the action and looked away briefly. Just on cue, Melanie came over and set my cup of coffee down onto the table. She winked at me before returning to the spot behind the counter. I glanced back at Spencer and saw her watching Melanie walk back to her coffee making station. She must've noticed me staring, so she looked back at me and smiled awkwardly.
"I'm kind-of jealous. Melanie always brings your coffee over to you, but I have to grab it for myself from the counter." she sighed as she lifted up the cup and took another sip of coffee.
"That's because you don't make conversations with her. Or try to be nice." I gladly pointed out to Spencer. She rolled her eyes and sighed.
"Not everyone could be perfect like you." she muttered before looking away. Okay… That was… Um… I faked a cough and ran a hand through my hair.
"How were your morning classes?" I asked to steer us away from the small tension that loomed over us.
"Fine. Good. Great. Superb." she nodded as she answered, every word dripping with sarcasm. I laughed at her attempt to sound excited and hide her resentment for her Friday morning classes.
"I went to see Dr. Sullivan today." I shared with her. She looked at me curiously and then brought the coffee up to her face again to take another sip.
"How was it?" she asked as she set down the cup and cradled it in her hands.
"I had a somewhat stimulating discussion with her." I said.
"What about?" Spencer inquired. I hesitated for a moment before answering.
"Emily." I finally admitted.
"Oh." she said before looking down at the cup of coffee in-between her hands. I suddenly felt bad for sharing that with her. I had some suspicions about her feelings when she told me that things hadn't worked out between her and Dan. I was glad that they were still able to remain friends. Dan was great about it. I've spoken to him and he said he felt Spencer already had someone in her heart. I had only hope he never found out who and that he'd be able to move on. It took a few months, but he finally started dating again, which I am quite thankful for.
"Spencer… This isn't going to get out of hand, right?" I asked with a little bit uncertainty out of nervousness. I stared at her until she finally looked at me. The defeated look in her eyes did nothing to resolve my anxious feelings.
"I want to tell, Emily." she confessed. I stared blankly at her for a moment and blinked several times before I could come up with a few coherent words.
"You…do?" I asked cautiously. She does?
"I don't know how she'll react…but it's been eating at me for a while now. She has the right to know. Especially since we're all living under the same roof. I just…feel so bad keeping this from her…for who knows how long." she uttered before she dug the palm of her hands into her eyes and covering up her face. She looked like she wanted to sob on the spot, but I knew better than to think that Spencer would actually burst out crying in public. I also knew that she was trying very hard not to. I sighed at this knowledge and reached over to caress her upper arm to comfort her as best as I could.
"It'll be alright. Well, I hope it'll be alright. You girls have grown up together and have been friends for so long. Knowing Emily, I'm sure we both know that she'll forgive you. Uh, I mean, not that there's anything to forgive…" I tried to make a save for it. Shit. Come on, Paige. Can't you be a bit more sensitive?
"No, you're right. It's Emily after all." she said as she cradled the cup of coffee in-between her hands again before bringing it up and taking a sip. I pulled my hand away and grabbed my coffee to drink too. We sat there silently, and I wondered if any of us were going to speak up again.
"I want you to be there when I tell her." her voice pierced through the silence between us.
"Are you sure? Wouldn't that be, I don't know, awkward?" I asked uncertainly. She gave me a contemplative look before shrugging her shoulders. I stared at her expectantly and she rolled her eyes at me.
"Fine, I'll talk to her alone." she sighed as she said this.
"Good, because I don't think I can handle being sandwiched between the two of you." I let out an awkward laugh. Spencer quirked an eyebrow and then shake her head, as though to dismiss whatever thought she was thinking.
"Can I ask you something?" Spencer asked tentatively.
"Ask away." I said for her to go on.
"If…Emily never…would we…?" she gestured a hand between the both of us to complete what she was trying to say.
"Uh…wow. Um…well…no?" I managed to utter. I blushed as I struggled to form clear words. I found myself looking at the floor in embarrassment. I heard her sigh from where I sat, and I slowly glanced up to see that she had her head in her hands as her elbows rested on the table.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I heard her mutter over and over from across the table.
"I know… I'm sorry too." I whispered just loud enough for her to hear.
"I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry." Spencer lifted up her head to face me as she apologized.
"You don't have to apologize, Spence. But…maybe aside from flag football, you and I should hang out…less?" I suggested.
"No!" she quickly exclaimed. "I could get over this. Just…give me some time, okay?" she pleaded. More time? It's been over half a year already!
"There's more to this than you're letting on. Is this something about Emily? Did she – "
"No, this…has nothing to do with Emily." Spencer let out a breath of frustration. What the hell was going on with her?
"Spencer, please, can you just spare the both of us this roundabout trip and get straight to the point?" I asked impatiently.
"I just…don't want to think about it, alright? I… Emily's been through so much, Paige. She doesn't deserve this. I feel like I've been betraying her the moment these feelings occurred. Honestly, I'm scared. I'm scared I'll lose her as a friend. I'm scared she'll hurt over this silly thing I feel. I'm scared this will hurt her. You don't know how much you mean to her, Paige… Her heart's been aching since the day you left, and I've never seen her so devastated before…and so hurt for such a long time…not since Maya left. Then you come walking in with all your brilliance, saving the day, and making Emily Fields smile again. I'd hate to be the one to take that all away. She loves you. Only you. You're everything to her. Do you get it? Do you understand how damaging these feelings I have could be for the rest of us? I know her, Paige. I grew up with her. And now, I'm living with her." Spencer spoke frantically and her voice cracked at the last word as she looked down with a crestfallen expression. I winced from the pain I heard in her voice and wished that I could somehow make all of the hurt disappear. She was hurting for her best friend. This is who Spencer was. Always charging forward and taking the bullet, never minding the pain it would cause her. After a few moments of silence, I decided to speak up.
"This might sound crazy, but I had the same exact conversation with Dr. Sullivan earlier." I offered the words to comfort her. She slowly lifted up her head, teary eyed, and looked me straight in the eyes.
"How?" she whispered.
"I'm scared I'll hurt her too." I revealed.
Spencer and I sat there in silence for the remaining of our time in the coffee shop. I couldn't muster up the courage to go on any more. We were both hurting, and for once, I felt like I have had enough words said in a day.
A slight movement startled and woke me up, and I immediately opened my eyes from the small disturbance. I took in my surroundings and realization set in as I remembered that I was watching a movie with Emily. I currently was lying on my back with my head resting on Emily's lap in the dark room. I looked to my left and realized that the movie we were watching was still playing.
"Sorry," she whispered as she bends over and places the cup of water back onto the coffee table. I smiled sleepily at her before I turned to lie on my right side and nuzzled my face into her soft flat stomach that was covered with a thin cotton t-shirt. I heard her giggle for a second before I felt one of her hands lightly running through my hair. I sighed in contentment and breathed in her glorious scent before exhaling with a deep satisfaction from within. I sensed her move again and then I felt her kiss my left temple. I smiled into her body and kissed the lower part of her fabric-covered abdominal muscles before turning slightly left to look up at her. Emily sensually licked her lips before she leaned down and kissed me sideways. She pulled away after several seconds and placed her hand on my hip before caressing my left side as she looked at me lovingly. We smiled at each other and I lazily lay there staring at her, while she went back to watching the movie.
It's been about…a little over a month, and Emily and I are slowly taking off and letting our relationship lift into flight. It was really interesting to see how some of her quirks remained the same while others have changed. She still bites her bottom lip when she's nervous or anxious to say what's on her mind. She doesn't enjoy oranges any more. Her favorite color is pink now. She still loves to read before she goes to bed. She still runs, but her favorite time to do it is right before the sunset. She likes Neapolitan milkshakes and ice cream, and would not be as happy having one flavor alone. She enjoys walks around the neighborhood at night. And finally, Emily now has a large collection of heels in her tiny closet.
Emily told me that I've changed a lot too since high school. She tells me that I'm more graceful when I walk now. I apparently have grown two inches since we've last seen each other two and a half years ago, putting me about an inch taller than her. She says I'm still a bit oblivious when it comes to people's attraction to me. I still run every morning. She likes that I'm more comfortable with who I am now. She enjoys it when I cook for her, which is something slightly new because she used to be the one that loved cooking for the both of us. She laughed when she found out that I now not only loathe clothes shopping but have a strong aversion to grocery shopping as well. I actually didn't mind it as much whenever she accompanies me now. Lastly, Emily is still quite fond of me serenading her when we're both alone.
I like the gradual pace of our relationship. At times, Emily seems to be having a hard time restraining herself and her hand would wander to intimate places, but I'd always stop her before things got too out of hand. It's not that I didn't want to. I just felt like our relationship was still very new and fragile, and the other reason was that I couldn't until I fully convinced myself that I was completely open to accepting that she could live without me someday if that day ever comes.
Another month has gone by, and Emily and I are now in Rosewood for the holidays and the rest of winter break. We've only settled back in town for less than a week, and already we have been going back and forth to each other's houses to have dinner with our parents. The Fields' home was always so welcoming. They accepted me into their home even though I've hurt them all so much. Pam was the first to take me into her arms and whispered words of comfort, support, and encouragement after finding out about my condition. My heart melted as I found myself being loved by her as if I was her own child. I remember Emily standing only a few feet away with her arms wrapped around Wayne's middle when I was pulled into her mother's embrace. They both stood in place and stared at us with loving eyes, and the candles that flickered in the living room only helped rouse the spirit of love in their warm home. I remember thinking that I never wanted to leave again.
Back at my house, mom had taken it upon herself to cook festive dishes for dinner, while dad sat Emily down and have her recount all of her swim seasons at Danby and U Penn. I split my time between the living room, where Emily and dad were talking over glasses of wine, and the kitchen, where mom was taking out all of her prepped recipes and putting them together. We cooked and joked with one another as the candlelight flickered at the dining table in the room next door. When we heard dad and Emily's melodious laugh from the other side of the house, mom and I both looked at one another and smiled knowingly. We've all missed having Emily over for family dinner, especially dad since he really enjoyed talking about swimming with her. Emily always had a way with recounting stories. Storytelling with her always seemed to be so enchanting. In the moment, I felt like I never wanted her to leave.
It was now our sixth day in Rosewood when the girls wanted to hang out with Emily and me. We all agreed to meet at The Grille and have lunch together. Emily and I arrived together in her car, whereas the three girls plus one Caleb came in Spencer's car. It was noon by the time that we all sat down at a table together. Caleb and I sat across from each other, while our girlfriends sat next to us. Spencer sat down to Hanna's right and with Aria sitting across from her and to Emily's left. We all order our food and drinks at once because we were all quite ravenous and most of us skipped breakfast except for Spencer and Aria. We all smiled at each other while we settled in our seats and eased back into our chairs.
"So," Hanna started before continuing, "Who's been doing who? I want to know when, where, why, how, and what exactly happened." she smiled mischievously.
"Hanna!" both Emily and Aria chastised her. Spencer rolled her eyes and smiled at Hanna's antics of breaking the ice, and Caleb sighed and looked over to me with a knowing smile. I grinned back and mouthed "Lucky you." He playfully scowled at me before turning to his girlfriend and putting his arm around her.
"Hanna, subtlety is surely not your thing. Let's have someone else start the group discussion, okay?" Caleb asked her sweetly. She pretended to pout and folded her arms across her chest, and then he leaned in to give her a quick peck. She smiled instantly and nodded in compliance to his request. "Anyone else want to give it a go?" he asked.
"Well…Ezra asked me to marry him." Aria shared excitedly. The other three girls screamed in exhilaration and we all stood up to go over to hug and congratulate her. Marriage already. I smiled inwardly as I let myself daydream standing next to Emily in her wedding dress.
"Oh my God, Aria! That is so exciting!" Hanna gushed before she turned to her left and smack Caleb on his right upper arm. "And you told me subtlety is not my thing! Look at her! She's branded by Fitz. With an engagement ring!" she exclaimed before wearing a playful jealous look. Caleb rolled his eyes and glanced over to the ring on Aria's finger. I chose to do so at the same moment and suddenly realized how pretty and antique it was. Aria suddenly shied back into her seat and begins playing around with the ring on her finger.
"It's his grandmother's ring." Aria shared with us and I noticed how much she was glowing from the fact that it was an inherited gift.
"I can't believe you didn't tell me first! How can you keep a secret like that from us?" Hanna pouted again. She was right though. How did I not notice that Aria was glowing before this?
"Well, he only proposed last night…and we stayed in until this morning…" Aria blushed as she vaguely told us what happened. We all grinned from ear to ear, and Hanna looked like she was about to jump up and down like an energetic bunny in her seat.
I glanced over to look at Emily and saw that she was already staring at me. I smiled and leaned in to kiss her briefly. When we parted, her eyes began to flutter open and she looked completely bedazzle with such a simple gesture of affection. We returned our attention to the table where the rest of the gang was discussing dress shopping and wedding preparations that was happening in the next year before Aria asked the table to go silent.
"Spencer, I'd really like you to be my maid of honor. You've always been my emotional lifeboat, and I really don't think I could walk down the aisle without you by my side." Aria said to Spencer before looking around the table for any signs of disapproval. When she saw none, she looked back to see that Spencer still wore her stunned expression. It took her a few moments but she finally spoke.
"Yes. Yes, I'll be your emotional and logistical support. I'm incredibly humbled to be your honor attendant." Spencer said as a tear fell down her face. Aria reached over and put her hand over Spencer's, and they shared a beautiful friendship moment that no one dared to interrupt.
We all smiled for a while before our eyes widen when we saw the waitrons making their way towards our table with food. After we began to dig in, Hanna went on and on about wanting to be the working bee to lead the bridesmaid troupe through their duties, and Spencer finally gave in and let Hanna take the reigns but only asking Aria before doing so. Aria simply nodded and rolled her eyes, since she must've known that Hanna would not let it go.
I looked over to Emily and wondered what role she wanted to play in her best friend's wedding. Emily seemed to have a daze look on her face, and I watched as the corner of her lips lifted up a little at whatever thought that was running through her mind. I reached for her hand under the table and intertwined our fingers, and she quickly glanced over at me in surprise. I quirked an eyebrow to silently question where her mind had wandered, but she just shook her head and mouthed, "Tell you later." She smiled at me before turning back to engage in the conversation between the other three girls. I continue to let the pad of my thumb run over the back of her hand, and looked over at Caleb.
"So…I heard about your…uh…condition." Caleb began the conversation nervously. I smiled to let him know that it wasn't a big deal. Well, it was. But I didn't want him worrying about it for no cause.
"Yeah, I'm good. No worries, Caleb. I heard you're trying to start up a tech company?" I asked. He grinned and lifted a hand to rub the back of his neck.
"Like you heard, I'm trying." he added.
"With talent and skill like yours, I'm sure it won't be long before you actually own a tech company or two sometime soon." I remarked truthfully before bring the glass of water up to my lips and taking a sip. Caleb nodded timidly before shifting once or twice in his seat.
"What are your plans after college?" he asked me. I shrugged my shoulders and smiled joyfully.
"Anything that makes me happy, really. I hope to have a swimming career in the near future. If that doesn't work out for me, I'm going to try to get into law school." I answered. He looked at me thoughtfully and then nodded slightly.
"Not much of a life you're living if you don't do the things that makes you happy, huh?" he asked the rhetorical question.
"Nope, not really a life worth living if I don't get to do things that makes me happy." I responded anyways. Somehow, that stuck with me. Not really a life worth living? Doing things that makes me happy? Where was all of this coming from?
"You're welcome." Caleb said with a tiny glint in his eyes that would've escaped my notice had I not been looking him straight in the eye.
"Thank you." I found myself saying back. Why was I suddenly thanking him?
Lunch with the girls and Caleb ended all too soon, and we were all making plans to meet up again the next day at Spencer's house to have a movie marathon together. Emily was driving us back to her house where we were going to spend the rest of our day together, and maybe go for a run if we were still in the mood for it.
"What were you and Caleb talking about earlier?" Emily asked me out of the blue.
"Nothing inappropriate." I answered teasingly and watched as she glanced over to me with a pout on her face.
"Fine, don't tell me. I won't tell you what I was thinking about earlier either." she threatened.
"Okay, okay." I gave in and rolled my eyes before answering, "Caleb was just asking me about the future. What I want to do after school and whatnot. Now it's your turn. What were you thinking about earlier?" I immediately asked. Emily was silent for a few moments, and I was really starting to get curious about what she was thinking.
"The future. Our future. Together." Emily revealed. Ah. Right. Our future. "I'm not scaring you, am I? I mean, I do think about our future together but nothing too serious." she frantically said after a few moments of silence between us. I guess my silence had unnerved her quite a bit.
"No, no. It's just… You've really thought about your future…with me in it?" I tentatively asked.
"Of course!" she quickly said, but then a frown crept onto her face. "Oh no…you haven't…have you? Oh god…" Emily delved back into her worry self again.
"No, Em. I have. Truthfully, I'm glad you have too." I said to reassure her. But even so, she stayed silent for the rest of the drive home.
Emily pulled into the parking spot in the driveway, put the gear into park, and turned off the engine before looking down at her hands on her lap. I unbuckled my seatbelt and reached over and took a hold of one of her hands before bringing it over to rest our hands on my lap. I stared at her and waited until she lifted up her gaze to meet mine. I smiled genuinely at her to show that I truly meant what I said. I heard her sigh in relief and I leaned in to give her a soft kiss. I pulled back only slightly and let my other hand rest on her cheek.
"Please don't doubt me. I do envision a future with you." I said to her. She leaned into my touch and closed her eyes. I watched with restful eyes as I took in all of her beauty. I leaned in again and sealed my words with a kiss. It was only when she kissed me back that I finally understood why I had recognized Caleb's blessings from earlier.
She makes me happy.
I love her. The realization struck me as we lay in her bed. Emily was about half asleep and was cuddling into my left side. I pulled her closer to me and turned to lie on my left side to face her. She looked so sweet and innocent, eyes barely open and a lazy smile graced her lips. I wrapped my arm around her, putting my palm on the small of lower back as I pulled her into me. Emily inched over a bit before I moved in and rested my hand on her upper arm as we both lay on our sides. I brought my hand up to her face and moved a few strands of hair to tuck them behind her ear. She closed her eyes and hummed softly before nuzzling into my neck and wrapping her arm around my middle and letting out a sigh. My hand then moved towards the back of her head and I ran my fingers through her long dark tresses in the moonlit room.
Today marked the third month of our rekindled relationship. A lot of things have happened for the both of us, and we barely struggled through our schedules to see each other between school and swimming. It was really nice that we swam and live together, or else I wouldn't know how I'd be coping without seeing her as much as I do now juggling school and other extracurricular activities. Emily has also taken it upon herself to volunteer at a non-profit private organization that helps families and individuals with low income and spends about three hours every Thursdays doing that after classes. While Emily's off trying to save the world, I've been shadowing Veronica and Melissa Hastings with Spencer and Sammie to learn more about their work as lawyers. With our busy schedules with school and extracurricular activities, we've also managed to find free time slots to include intramural co-ed flag football into our lives, and today was one of those days.
It was an incredibly fun day out on the fields this afternoon. We were two weeks into our conditioning, and everyone's mostly worn out by now. Well, almost everyone. Spencer Hastings truly lived up to her acquired surname. She and Emily were getting along quite well with the other players as newcomers. A lot of guys had taken a liking to them, seeing that they were the hot new faces around, and boy had it been fun to watch their expressions when they found out Emily's preference for girls. Everyone had been really cool with her like they had been with me, and Spencer had ended up overindulging from all the attention of the male players as a result. None of them seemed to appeal to Spencer, but they kept making passes at her anyway. Spencer made it very clear that she was not in the slightest interested whenever we were on the field playing conditioning games though, and managed to scare most of them away. She definitely made sure the boys knew their places and know not to mess with her on the field. There was always an exception in every case though. There's still one guy who couldn't resist her fierce, competitive Hastings charm. Charley Lutz. He was a strong and burly blonde, and dare I say quite attractive. He'd let her pummel him at any opportunity there was, and Sammie and I would give each other knowing looks from across the field. That boy was totally swooning over a Hastings, and Spencer had no idea whatsoever. It was quite amusing to watch them play.
Sammie and I never took the game as seriously as Spencer and Emily did, but that didn't stop us from trying to pin the girls down and grab their flags whenever we got the chance. Sometimes, I'd just sneak up behind Emily for fun and wrap my arms around her middle before lifting her up into the air and spin us around in circles. She'd laugh and slap my arms to put her down, and I'd relish in the perfect moments after I did. I'd always get a kiss from Emily Fields.
"What are you thinking about?" I heard her mumble into my neck. I pulled away a little to find her beautiful brown orbs. I smiled when I did, as she looked at me sleepily.
"How did you know that I was thinking of anything at all?" I wondered aloud. She smiled before blinking several times to keep her eyes open.
"I know you." she plainly said.
"Are you sure?" I asked teasingly. She nodded lightly before letting her eyes close. I leaned in and lay a gentle kiss on both of her eyelids.
"So what were you thinking about?" she asked again even with eyes closed. I smiled and wanted to shake my head at the curious girl in my arms. How she could still be so curious while being so sleepy was something I'd truly never wanted to understand. It was a beauty of hers that I could never truly fathom. Well, more like a woman's heart that is hard to fathom, but nonetheless, I enjoy the mystery of not knowing.
"You. Me. Everything." I uttered. She decided at that moment to open her eyes, and I saw her brown orbs filled with questions she daren't ask.
"I feel like I've had this conversation with you before. Is it another one of those déjà vu?" she questioned. I smiled and stared lovingly into her eyes.
"Maybe we had. Maybe we haven't. Even so, everything could never be the same." I answered. She seemed more awake now after I said this.
"How about us? Will we always remain the same?" she asked with a hopeful smile. I returned the smile and leaned in to kiss her on the lips.
"No. Our love will always be ever-changing." An ethereal love that is so unworldly, the two of us will be the only ones to understand it.
"How can you be so sure?" she hesitantly asked. I looked at her for a long time before I brought my hand up to caress the side of her face.
"Because love was something I first felt with you." I leaned in to kiss her. "And I just know in my heart…" I paused and pressed my lips against hers again. "That love will be something that'll last only with you…even though the circumstances have changed a bit and we're two completely different people from who we were back then. Our love will grow and change with us." I finished. She stared intently into my eyes and I couldn't help but wonder what the million emotions behind those eyes were right now.
"I love you too." I heard Emily whisper before she sealed our love with a sweet kiss.