Author's Note: Written for summerstorm for Yuletide 2012.
The Care and Keeping of Hanna: A Handbook
By: Caleb Rivers and Spencer Hastings
Section 3.12.6 [Hanna's Emotional Development Hanna's Moods]
What to Do When Hanna Has a Self-Esteem Crisis
Step 1: Listen to her. Really listen to her.
Hanna sometimes feels as though she's ignored. By listening to Hanna, it allows you to gain valuable insight into what she's thinking about. This is especially crucial during a self-esteem crisis, as you may have to read between the lines to get at what the matter really is. Don't laugh or belittle her, but instead, be kind, compassionate and caring. She will appreciate it now, if not moreso later.
Hanna can shed the skin that is her former identity, but the vestiges of it still remain. She's like that old saying about elephants: she never forgets.
She can still look in the mirror in the morning, pirouette around, and see every inch. Every flaw. Every part of the girl that people used to deride and call Hefty Hanna. The days when she literally felt like an elephant, besides in the figurative sense.
She couldn't forget.
No matter how much makeup she piles on, or how nice are the designer clothes she wears, she still sees the same, sad girl on the other side of the reflection. She allows the curling iron to fall from her hair, still guided by her hand; the ringlet bounces back up, and she smiles as she touches it with a tender touch. She can hide behind this veil of bouncy blonde curls and the immaculate way in which she presents herself.
The brilliance of her smile can always hide the tusks she sometimes sees.
"Hanna? Earth to Space Cadet Marin, come in Marin," Caleb says, waving his hand in front of her face. "Do you copy?"
"What?" She snapped her head up from its resting position in her hand. "Oh, um, yeah, I'm here. Sorry."
"You seem like you're a thousand miles away. Is something wrong? Because you're acting even more out of it than you ever have before."
"Yeah, um, I just - I know that I've lost a ton of weight."
"And you look really good." He looked up and down her body appreciatively. He could imagine what she might have looked like before the weight loss, but the image is not that much different; she'd still be the same girl on the inside, the same girl that he loves.
"You wouldn't have said that if you knew me before. You would think that I was a fat pig with no portion control. Everyone thought that. That's why I was a social outcast before Alison - before all that - and why I had to lose the weight to get the popularity I have. Face it, Caleb, if I gained the weight back, I'd lose everything I have - my friends, my self-esteem, you. And I still see her when I look in the mirror."
"You still see who?" he asks, placing his hand on her arm. "Who do you see?"
"Hefty Hanna. That was Alison's nickname for me. Hefty Hanna."
"She doesn't sound like she was much of a friend." The wheels start turning in Caleb's head. If Hanna is afraid that she would lose everything if she was to gain the weight back, hypothetically, he had to find a way to prove to her that she wouldn't. That at the very least, she would still have him - and maybe he could convince one of her other friends to help. "But you're not going to be her. You've changed since then. You still have me. You have Spencer, and -"
"Do you really think that pretty, thin, perfect Spencer would keep me around?"
"In fact, I do."
Hanna forces a grim smile on her face. "If you say so."
Step 2. Take action to help her.
Hanna can't do it on her own. She tries, but no person is an island in this world. She knows this, but tries anyway. By taking action to help her during a self-esteem crisis, you show her that someone else cares about her and what happens to her. Bonus points if you don't do it by yourself either. You are not an island either.
"Have you seen Hanna today?" Caleb asks, resting his palm against the wall and staring straight at Spencer.
"No." Spencer attempts to walk around him, before he puts his arm out to stop her; she turns to glance back at him. "Why? Is something wrong? She didn't get into a car accident, did she? She likes to text and drive, and I always -"
"It's nothing like that, Spencer, don't worry. It's more - more personal than that," he says. "She thinks that everyone would leave her if she was to gain all of her old weight back. And that she's not a beautiful, sexy, amazing person regardless of if she's her current weight or her old one."
"I know where she's coming from," Spencer says with a sigh, sitting down on a bench in the hallway and patting the seat next to her for Caleb to sit down next to her. "But you know me - I'm not one for beating around the bush, and I'm not going to abandon a friend of mine like that."
"She thinks that you're pretty and perfect, and would have no use for her."
"Are we playing the telephone game now with Hanna's words?" Spencer says, laughing as she says it. "Because I'm not perfect. I may pretend like I am most of the time, and I may come across that way, but I'm really, honestly not perfect. And she knows it."
"Can you help me convince her that she's got us on her side, and that we're not leaving her, and that we find her beautiful regardless of anything?"
"What did you have in mind? I don't think a party consisting of 'let's talk all about Hanna's amazing traits' games is going to do the trick here."
"She mentioned one time about having a threesome, but never brought it up again."
"So you want me to have a threesome with you two?"
"Well, more focused on Hanna, of course. Not so much on me and you. Although -"
"Down, Caleb. I know you're in love with Hanna, and I don't want to do anything to compromise what you two have together. So - I mean, if she says yes -"
"Great. I'll text you and let you know when you can come over. And where you're coming to, of course."
"Uh, I've never been a part of a threesome before," Spencer says, her laughter turning from bubbly to nervous, "is there some sort of protocol? Do I bring the edible underwear or a bundt cake? I don't know what's good threesome etiquette!"
"Just bring yourself. We'll take care of the rest of the work, and if not - we'll do it when we're all together there."
Caleb (03:32:24 pm): hannas house 730
Caleb (03:33:46 pm): she says yes
Spencer (03:37:32 pm): ok
Step 3. See how she responds to the action you have undertaken. Amend as/if necessary.
After you've chosen how you're going to help, go through with it! Hanna will appreciate whatever you do, more than likely. If she reacts negatively, amend your actions so that they are positive. If you do something that upsets her, back off. This cannot be emphasized enough. Hanna's comfort, especially in times of emotional distress, is always more important.
Spencer rings the doorbell, and stands there waiting for one of them to come to the door and answer it; she bounces back and forth on the balls of her feet, hopping ever-so-slightly to the side as she does so. The anxiety inside her is bubbling up and threatening to spill over. It's not every day you have your first threesome, after all.
Finally, after what feels like an eternity, a shirtless Caleb comes to the door, with Hanna right behind him. "Hey," Caleb says, "me and my Siamese-Hanna welcome you in." He smiles widely, and it puts Spencer at ease. Caleb always did have a nice smile.
"So you're okay with this?" Spencer asks, after they settle down in Hanna's bedroom. "I mean, your mom won't be home to disrupt us and try to give us condoms or spray us with squirt guns or something, right?"
"Nah. She's out of town for the week. She needed to relax, so one of her friends took her to a spa in the Poconos. She'll be back with seaweed wraps and hot stone massages in her rearview window and things will be happier and less tense around here," Hanna says, rambling slightly. "Sorry, I'm nervous."
"It's just me, Hanna. You know, the girl that you had help braid your hair because you couldn't reach it all by yourself?"
"Yeah, but there's a big difference between braiding hair and threesomes," she replies, "even if I did tell Caleb once - he has a good memory - I'm really surprised."
Caleb laughs. "You never forget when your girlfriend tells you something like that. I also seem to remember someone telling me that she has a shoe fetish?"
"That was private!"
"And you don't think that Spencer deserves to be in on private things? I mean, hello, look at what we're doing here!"
"True," Hanna acquiesced. "So now, Spencer, if you see me looking at your shoes -"
"I won't know if you're trying to figure out where I bought them or if you want to use them as part of your sexcapades with Caleb? Fair point. Good to know, though, in case I wear stilettos to class sometime," Spencer stretches out her arms above her head and turns to face Hanna and Caleb. "So, how do we get this threesome started? Because -" she looks at Hanna, and sees a sadness in her eyes, "I don't know how to start a threesome."
"I already did part of the work before you got here," Caleb says, gesturing to his bare chest. "But I guess we can start like this," Caleb says, turning to stare lovingly into Hanna's face. He stands there, in front of Hanna, the tips of his fingers skimming precariously along the edge of the hem of her blouse; the vibrant beads in green and gold that decorate her neckline are pressed into the skin of his chest, creating small, tiny indentations where there had previously been none. And Spencer moves in to stand behind her, her arms wrapped in a loose grasp around Hanna's waist. Hanna can feel Spencer's hands resting on her stomach, her fingers intertwined with one another; her breath is warm on her neck.
In all her life, so far, Hanna has never felt more safe and secure - wanted, even - than she does in this moment. One of her best friends and her boyfriend are encircling her, creating a cocoon to protect her. She leans forward, leans into Caleb's touch, pressing her lips to the top of his shoulder, as she takes her hand and places it on top of Spencer's. She wants this - whatever this is, whatever it will become in the future, if there even is a future here - to continue.
Caleb lifts the blouse off of Hanna, carefully, delicately, making sure to avoid poking Hanna - or Spencer, for that matter - in inopportune places with his hands. "You're so beautiful," he says, kissing along her bra strap. "You're so beautiful, Hanna."
Spencer nods her agreement and presses her lips to the back of Hanna's neck. "I agree with Caleb. You're beautiful and sexy and intelligent and you're -"
"Less chatter about me, more taking off clothes," Hanna says, "and yes, I know, I can't believe I said that either." She reaches behind her and fumbles with the buttons on Spencer's blouse, managing to loosen a few before Spencer shrugs the fabric down her sleeves; the momentary lack of contact between them as Spencer allows her shirt to drop to the floor is too much for Hanna, and she leans back into Spencer once the action is complete, feeling Spencer's bra beneath her head. A surrogate human pillow.
Spencer takes one hand to unfasten her khakis; she lets them drop to the floor alongside of her shirt in little fabric puddles, and Caleb does the same, letting his jeans rest near Spencer's. "Now to unwrap our Hanna," he says in a husky whisper, and Hanna squirms a bit. "Or - Hanna?" She visibly relaxes, the tension melting away from her face, and Caleb smiles. "Sorry about that, Hanna."
"'S'okay," she murmurs, "but I'm definitely my own person, and no matter how much I like you two, that's not going to change any time soon."
Caleb nods and unzips the zipper on Hanna's skirt, and with Spencer's aid, they manage to push it to the floor with the rest of the clothing. They stand there, clad in just their underwear, and Hanna kisses Caleb, kissing him with all of the passion she could muster in the moment, and then she ducks aside. "Sorry," she whispers seductively, but she's not really sorry at all, as she turns to kiss Spencer with equal passion and muster. Her tongue slides along Spencer's teeth and feels the cool ridges between each one, and she loves the feel of kissing both - it's different for each one, but in ways that make each one incredibly exciting. Caleb is familiar, because if they've kissed once, they have kissed a thousand times, and Spencer is familiar too because, hello, they're best friends, with all that that implies. And it would be still different too if she were to kiss Emily or Aria, she's sure of that.
Spencer nudges Hanna forward, and they fall onto the bed; Spencer unhooks Hanna's bra in the movement, and Caleb pulls down his boxers. Spencer grasps one of Hanna's breasts and holds it in her hand, murmuring something unintelligible but seemingly-loving under her breath. "So hot," is the first intelligible thing she says, and Hanna is about to lose it at those words; on impulse, she takes her hand and shoves it between Spencer's legs. She crooks one finger and slides it past Spencer's panties, parting through the soft cotton; without much unease, she finds Spencer's core and slides her finger inside, massaging at her clit.
She knows what makes her feel good when Caleb does it to her, or when she does it to herself when he's not around, so it's almost like acting on instinct - what makes her feel good would logically also work for making Spencer feel good, and if Spencer's keening moans and contorted facial expressions are worth anything in the world, she's doing a good job of knowing what works. Caleb's hands slide down her frame as he positions himself to enter inside her, and she cannot help but feel overwhelmed to a particular degree. It's a lot to take in all at once, both what she's doing to Spencer and - as Caleb slides inside her, his cock filling her up, she loses all rational train of thought. She clenches her legs around his waist and pulls him closer to her. She doesn't want to let go of either, because if she does, she'll wake up and this wonderful, beautiful dream would all be over.
Caleb continues to kiss her, while Spencer sucks at her neck, leaving little marks that she will have to disguise with copious amounts of concealer when it is all said and done, not that this is something she will mind doing. It's worth every dab and swipe of the precious makeup, for how she's feeling at this moment. It's impossible to put a price on that feeling. Caleb pumps in and out of her, and it's a slow build toward ecstasy - she continues to massage at Spencer's clit, refusing to stop even for a moment.
Spencer stops sucking long enough to say, "I thought I was supposed to be the one making you feel good," with a good-natured laugh, before she starts back up again, and Hanna rolls her neck over to one side. It's to further allow Spencer more places to work that magical tongue of hers. And she can feel Caleb reaching around to hold Spencer closely against her, and him, and Spencer's leg is curled up over hers - her toes brush against her calf, almost tickling her.
It's the closest thing to perfection she's ever found.
With a strangled yelp, she sees stars dance before her eyes, and she feels a rush of orgasm run through her; soon after, her hand becomes drenched from Spencer's own, and Caleb comes inside her around the same time Spencer does. And she's too sated and content to move, but then Caleb whispers in her ear, "do you want to go again?" and she can only nod and stretch out her leg muscles, because she doesn't want this night to end. She wants it to go on forever, just the three of them.
Plus, there's a lot more to do when there's three bodies in the bed instead of two.
Step 4. Make sure she knows you care. Honesty is key.
Hanna likes to know how people are feeling. It's an integral part of who she is. By reassuring her that you are here for her, and that you care for her - and that you mean it - will go further than just about anything else that can be done.
"Hanna?" Spencer asks with a yawn, reaching up from her place alongside Hanna's stomach. Caleb is fast asleep, spooned up behind Hanna, his leg thrown carelessly over Hanna's, as if to hold her closer to him, "You know that we care about you, don't you?"
"I think you two made it very obvious tonight, if it wasn't already." Hanna stretches out, and wraps an arm around each of Caleb and Spencer. "You went above and beyond the call of friendship. Thank you."
"I figured as much," Spencer says with a laugh. "But I do love you, Hanna. You're one of my best friends, and you deserve to be happy. No matter what. And Caleb is clearly crazy about you, or he wouldn't have dragged me into this."
"Do you regret being 'dragged' into it?" Hanna asks, using air quotes around the word dragged.
Spencer hides her face behind her hand, to hide the smile that crosses her face at Hanna's question. "Not at all. I - I enjoyed it. You're really flexible. Like, scary flexible, even. I didn't know you could do that thing with your legs."
"I could teach you, if you want me to," Hanna says, winking coyly at Spencer. "But you'd have to be willing to not go showing it off to every guy in Rosewood."
"Psh," Spencer says, waving her hand in the air dismissively. "Right now, all I see is my beautiful, gorgeous best friend and her boyfriend, and I'm not going to be going anywhere. Not to find other guys in Rosewood to show off for, at the very least."
"Good." Hanna buries her head into Spencer's chest and sighs. "I like it here."
"In my chest?"
"With you. And Caleb. With both of you. I feel more loved tonight than I have - well, probably since I was a little kid and my parents were still both really in love and didn't hate each other."
"That's good, then. Not that you didn't before - but that you do now. And thanks to us."
"I know." Hanna yawns loudly and snuggles in deeper; Spencer rests her hand on Hanna's hip and splays her fingers across the skin. "G'night, Spencer."
And from the other side of Hanna, they heard a grunted, "get to sleep, you two, love you," from Caleb.
Section 3.12.7 [Hanna's Emotional Development Hanna's Moods]
What to Do When Hanna Has a Panic Attack