Disclaimer: I do not own Pretty Little Liars. As if, like I could keep up with all those damn twists and turns.
Piece of Cake
"1...2...3." She makes it all the way to the third step before her nerves kick in and she has turn around again.
This was getting ridiculous. She shouldn't be this scared of a door, much less one she's been through more than her own in the past year. To be fair, it wasn't the door she was afraid of. It was the people behind it. The parents. The girlfriends parents. Emily's mom...and dad...together...in the house...together. Not just one Fields parental unit, but two. Together.
Granted she's had more than a few conversations with Emily's mom, some might even say they were close. And she's been around during a couple of Emily's Skype sessions with her dad, Paige even said 'hi' once. But this, this was an entirely different situation altogether...because they would be together, in the flesh, together. And Paige was expected to eat and talk and function properly around them. Together.
She realizes she's making this up to be a lot harder than it probably was. And she knows for certain she made it worst by coming thirty minutes too early. It took her fifteen minutes just to get out of the car. The rest of the time she spent staring at that damn door and trying to force her feet to move close enough, so she could ring the door bell. It was her dad's fault really. He made a big fuss on being punctual and how offended he'd be if someone she brought home was late. Thinking about it now, she's pretty sure he didn't mean this early. But she wasn't in the right mind-set then, she was anxious as hell all day and he knew that, he should have been more clear. And now she was late, which defeated the whole purpose of coming early in the first place. It was all a big mess.
She glances back at the dreaded door. She feels like it's mocking her somehow. Damn expressive inanimate objects. She sighs in frustration. She could do this, she could absolutely do this. It was a door. She closes her eyes and repeats those words over and over in her head as she follows the path she has memorized back to the Fields' porch. She only opens her eyes when she stubs her toe on the first step, cursing under her breath for her beloved pinky. She ignores the pain and makes her way up before she can think herself out of it.
The words are loud and clear now with each step she takes. "It's just a door. It's just a door." She focuses on the words she's saying instead of her sweaty palms and the lump in her throat that refused to go away. No more psyching herself out. By the time she makes it to the door, finger hovering over the door bell, she's not sure if she's whispering or if she just can't hear her voice over the loud beating of her heart.
"God, I can't do this." She drops her hovering hand and turns around. She really can't do this. She'll just text some excuse to Emily. Hopefully she'll under-
"Where do you think you're going?" Emily's voice cuts her off mid-thought.
"I, um, forgot something in the car?" It comes out as a question and her embarrassment at her sad attempt at an excuse, keeps her from turning around.
"No, you didn't."
"Yes, I did. I was in a rush and I forgot the...um, something," she cringes. How she managed life with this stupid brain of hers, she'll never know. "Sorry I'm late by the way."
"You weren't late."
Paige spins around at that. Why does she sound so sure? "What?"
Emily steps out of the door way smiling. "My dad and I have been watching you pace back and forth for...I don't even know how long."
Paige can feel her cheeks burning. "Emily," she whines, "why didn't you do something?"
"What could I do?" Emily asks her, shrugging her shoulders.
She sighs for what feels like the millionth time tonight. "At least your mom wasn't watching."
Emily shakes her head, "no, she had to finish dinner. She bowed out of the watch about ten minutes in."
"Oh. My. God."
Emily chuckles, "don't worry, she thinks it's cute. And my dad is just a little confused."
"Oh god," she squeezes her eyes shut. "This can't get any worst."
"It can if you leave." Emily's voice is soft and quiet when she says this.
Paige forces her eyes open, but she can't stop her head from ducking down. She was caught. "I wasn't-"
"Going to leave without telling me you came, texting me some excuse instead?" Emily finishes for her. She was really, really caught.
"What-no, I wouldn't do that. I, I just um," she looks at her hands and the seemingly forgotten peace offerings she brought. "One of the flowers fell out in the car. I was just going to get it." She thrust the bouquet in Emily's face, as if it would help her any. At this point, she was just digging herself a deeper hole.
Emily raises an eyebrow at her, Paige knew the eyebrow well. It was the 'you're full of crap, but I'm going to let it go' eyebrow. "Whatever, the bouquet looks beautiful. Just come in." Emily pulls at one of Paige's sleeves. She doesn't budge. "Paige?"
"I just," Paige takes a deep breath. "I don't think this is a good idea Em."
Emily drops her sleeve. Her voice is barely a whisper when she speaks. "You were going to leave, weren't you?"
"Only because I don't want you parents to hate me."
Emily sighs and cups Paige's face between her hands. "Paige, my mom loves you," she smiles. "And my dad will too. Just please come in," she finishes.
Paige blows out a puff of air. "I don't know Em. I mean, what if-" Paige's eyes bulge out at the sight of Emily's dad in the door way and she quickly pulls away from Emily's grasp. "Mr. Fields!" She lowers her voice. "Hi, how are you, this is for you." It rushes out of her mouth in a jumbled mess of a sentence Spencer would scold her for. She pushes the flowers into his hand, pulling them back when she realizes her mistake. "Um, no...I mean this is for you," she hands him the bottle of wine. "It's a gift from my dad and I. Mostly just my dad, because I'm underage and so of course I don't drink," she laughs nervously. Out of the corner of her eye she can see Emily trying not to laugh. "The flowers are for your mom." Crap. "I mean your wife. Pam. Mrs. Fields. The flowers are for Mrs. Fields." She shakes her head. This was the worst idea. "I should just-"
"Leave?" Mr. Fields' voice is strong and intimidating. Not at all the easy-going tone she remembers from those Skype conversations she listened in on. "That's not a very good first impression to leave on your girlfriend's father."
She looks down, "I um..."
"No, dad," Emily grabs onto Paige's free hand and squeezes. "She was just going to get my sweater from the car. I forgot it in there when she dropped me off from school yesterday. She'll just give it to me later, right Paige?"
Paige looks up and nods. She's grateful for the lie, but she doesn't really know what else to do.
"Why don't we go inside." Emily pushes her dad back through the doorway and into the house, pulling Paige with her as she follows.
"Paige, you're here." Mrs. Fields is warm and comforting as she hugs Paige the second she is fully in the house. It calms Paige's nerves a little.
"Yes. She brought you a gift...mom." Mr. Fields mocks her, laughing and motions to the flowers in Paige's hand.
Paige gives them to her, offering a small smile.
Mrs. Fields beams. "Thank you Paige. How did you know I liked Lilies?" she asks, smelling the bouquet.
Paige let's out a breath she didn't know she was holding. Finally, she gets something right. "Emily told me."
Emily scrunches her face in confusion. "I did?"
Paige nods. "Remember when I came over about a month ago to fix your bike?" Emily nods. "You told me she always wanted Lilies in the front yard, but they kept dying on her. I just..." she trails off, suddenly embarrassed.
Emily grins at her. "Right. I can't believe you remembered that." Like Paige could forget anything that came out of that pretty little mouth.
Paige chances a glance at Emily's dad. He's looking at her funny and she looks away quickly, not wanting to know what he was thinking. "Yeah. Um, I'm sorry I'm late Mrs. Fields."
She waves her off. "It's fine Paige. I'm sure you had a good reason. And please, I've told you a million times, call me Pam."
"Yes, I never caught that reason Miss McCullers." Paige involuntarily winces at Mr. Fields' voice.
Pam bumps her husbands shoulder with her own. "Be nice Wayne."
Paige shakes her head. "It's fine Mrs- um Pam." Paige stops, debating whether or not she wanted to lie. Despite everyone in the room knowing what she was doing outside, they didn't know why. Looking at Mr. Fields now, she knows he needs a reason. The truth. "I was nervous." Paige looks directly into his eyes as she continues. "I was just trying to calm my nerves."
Pam rubs her shoulder. "You don't have to be nervous." She looks at her husband, "right Wayne?" He nods. "We'll be in the kitchen. You two take your time," she says, pulling her husband out of the hall and into the kitchen.
Once they're gone, Emily pulls Paige flush against her body, wrapping her arms around Paige's neck and sighing. "I love you so much."
"Why? I'm a bumbling idiot," she says resting her forehead against Emily's.
Emily laughs, "that's exactly why."
"What happened to liking bold women?" she asks, pulling her head away from Emily's.
Emily smiles. "You're still here, aren't you?" Emily closes her eyes, leaning in-
"Emmy, I'm starving. What are you two doing?" Mr. Fields yells out, firmly interrupting them.
Emily pulls back. "Right."
Paige kisses her forehead. "Let's get this over with."
Dinner isn't completely terrible. If you ignore the glass of water Paige accidentally knocked over and the almost choking incident. Paige kind of has fun, if she squints really hard. She calms her nerves enough to talk when spoken to, answering any questions she gets asked. She even throws in a couple of jokes that were at least kind of funny. Emily and her mom laugh. Her dad just kind of mumbles a 'ha' under his breath. And Emily, bless her heart, talks Paige up like no ones business. She casually mentions all the awards Paige has, most of which Paige got in middle school and were nothing more than a typed out 'You're #1' on some yellow computer paper, Emily leaves that part out. She switches Paige's grades by a few letters, Paige can't remember the last time she had that many A's. She even exaggerates Paige's 'volunteer work.' Or as Paige remembers it, that one time she helped out at the church. Paige is grateful and she's sure she's never loved Emily more.
Through it all, Mr. Fields just nods and mumbles unintelligibly. And if his ever present, continuously deepening frown was anything to go by, she's sure nothing Emily said worked. No matter, Mr. Fields could ask her to go into his office so he could use one of his 'how to quickly and quietly get rid of your daughters significant other' military tactics, which Paige is sure he knows and she would die completely happy. But then he actually does, ask her to go to his office that is and she finds herself following him, scenes from 'Saving Private Ryan' flashing through her head. When they get there, she's not at all surprised. It's big and filled with awards and medals and it's all very him she thinks, ignoring the fact that she doesn't really know him at all, at least not personally.
They just sit quietly, him watching her and Paige looking everywhere but his face. Her nerves back full force.
"You have a lot of medals." Paige blurts out, the silence getting to her.
"I've spent a lot of time getting them. I've been in the military s-"
"Since the year after high school," Paige accidentally interrupts him, remembering all Emily has told her. "Emily told me. Whenever she misses you, she talks about you."
He seems taken aback by that. "Hmm, so once or twice?" He ask. She can tell by his tone he's joking. She can also tell he actually wants to know.
"Everyday," she says honestly.
"Huh." He smile,s a blink a you'll miss it smile. Paige doesn't miss it. He clears his throat. "You're still nervous," he says, motioning to her twiddling thumbs.
She laughs nervously, "you also have a lot of guns," she says looking around the room, they were kind of everywhere, hanging on the walls and placed delicately on shelves.
He smiles. This times it's wide and real and it stays there when Paige smiles with him. "They're antiques. They do nothing but look nice." He shakes his head, "you shouldn't be nervous. I brought you here to...thank you and apologize for how I've been tonight. It's not at all like me."
"I was jealous of you," he says ignoring her. "It's hard being away from my family, especially with all the...weirdness that seems to be Rosewood. And while I get frustrated every time I get a call about this or that and how I can't be there to help, it feels...nice still being needed." He looks down at his desk, seemingly trying to find the right words to say. "This year though, there haven't been too many calls and when they do call, they're happy and I know it's wrong, but I-"
"I get it. I mean I don't, but you know, you don't have to do this."
"But I do. Because you're a big reason my family is so happy."
"I know about the muffin baskets and the Thai take out nights and how the trash cans mysteriously finds it's way on the curb every Monday you're here, only the Mondays you're here," he grins. "And everything you've done for Emily, I can't...thank you for taking care of my family for me. I know you don't thinks it's a lot, but it is and we, I, appreciate it. And I'm sorry for how I was tonight, we'll have to have dinner again to make up for it," he says.
And to say Paige is shocked is an understatement and not at all a stand alone feeling. But shocked is definitely up there, so it takes a moment for her to realize he's waiting for..."um, you're welcome Mr. F-"
"Wayne," he says.
"Wayne," she smiles.
"So what did my dad want to talk to you about?" Emily ask her.
They're standing outside, leaning against Paige's dads car. Emily insisting that she walk her out.
She laughs and pulls Emily to her. "It's confidential."
"Ugh, you're terrible," Emily wraps her arms around her waist.
"You're amazingly terrible," Emily says, burying her head in Paige's shoulder.
"You love me."
Emily looks up, her face serious. "I do."
Paige's eyes wander from Emily's eyes, to her neck, landing on her lips. Lips she's been waiting all night to taste. And she doesn't want to wait any longer. She grabs Emily's face gently and leans in...
"Emily, it's getting kind of late!" Wayne shouts front the door.
Paige groans in annoyance and pulls away.
Emily's eyes are still closed and her arms still firmly wrapped around Paige. "Ignore the annoying parental figure," she whispers, licking her lips.
Paige kisses her forehead.
"Paaaige," Emily whines, her eyes still closed. "That's not a kiss."
"I'm not kissing you in front of your dad." Paige waves at him, still standing by the door.
Emily huffs, opening her eyes. "What are you two like best friends now?"
"Not yet. We just have...an understanding."
"I don't like the sound of that."
Emily turns her head to look at her dad, not bothering to hide her grimace. "I swear, he never used to be this annoying," she says turning back.
Paige shrugs, "I like him."
"I don't like that."
"You'll deal with it." Paige looks at her watch. "I have to go Em. So, eight tomorrow morning?"
Emily pouts. "I don't think I'll be in a running kind of mood."
"I was thinking we could cut the run short and make up for all the kisses your dad interrupted," she smirks.
Emily feigns shock. "Now what would my dad think if he knew you were trying to taint his poor little girl?"
"He wouldn't believe you."
Emily frowns, "seriously, what did you two talk about?"
"I'll see you tomorrow morning Em," she says pulling away and opening the car door.
"Paaaige, I don't even get a kiss goodbye?"
Paige looks at Emily's dad, ignoring her. "It was nice to finally meet you Mr. Fields!"
"Please, call me Wayne!"
She waves, closing the car door. Dinner with the parents. Piece of cake.
A/N: There is a fic in my head that refuses to get out and I'm going use Paily week to try and get the creative juices flowing. Hopefully I can remember how to write again. So if you think this is total crap, I agree. If you like it...well good for you. And I apologize if you were expecting any kind of cake. Be grateful the title wasn't 'Day 1.' If you enjoyed it review, if you hated it review. If you want to tell me how much Paily suck and Emaya 4eva...I'm good, but no thanks.