Title: The Cost
Disclaimers: I own nothing
Author's Notes: First off, this chapter is rated M for the beginning and for a bit of language later on so please take that into consideration. Secondly, thank you so much to everyone for reading, reviewing, following, and favoriting, I really appreciate it. I hope you enjoy chapter 2!
"You fooled me with your kisses
You cheated and you schemed
Heaven knows how you lied to me
You're not the way you seemed."
- Elvis Presley, (You're the) Devil in Disguise
Something was different, Spencer knew that right away, but as she looked up to meet Toby's loving gaze with her own, she also found she didn't care all that much. He hovered over her, his hand cupping her face as his thumb traced gentle circles on her cheek. "Are you sure?" he asked softly.
She smiled up at him. "Yes."
Toby smiled back before leaning down to kiss her tenderly as he guided himself inside of her. Spencer's hand fisted her sheet as Toby entered her, easing up after a moment to trail up his arm to his shoulder and then behind his neck, her fingers threading in his hair as their lips met again. She moaned his name against his lips as his large, calloused hand cupped her breast, his thumb gently brushing back and forth over her sensitive skin.
She couldn't seem to stop touching him – his face, his back, his arms. She wanted more of him and she desperately rocked her hips into his as his lips moved to her neck, trailing gentle kisses down her throat and across her collarbone.
She sighed happily, closing her eyes as Toby's gentle caresses continued, his lips and hands taking the time to thoroughly worship her body. She had never felt so loved, so safe, so cherished as she did when she was wrapped in Toby's arms.
"I love you, Spencer."
Her eyelids fluttered open and she smiled dreamily up at Toby. "I love you, too," she whispered.
He smiled back at her before he raised his right arm and Spencer's eyes widened at the large knife clutched in his fist. His smile turned dark as the knife plunged down toward her chest.
Spencer awoke screaming.
The girls, who had all been sound asleep in various positions in Hanna's room, shot awake at Spencer's cries and Hanna rushed to turn on the light as she and Emily stumbled out of bed.
Aria, who had been sleeping next to Spencer, grabbed her friend by the shoulders, forcing her to look at her. "Spencer! Spence! Hey, look at me. It's Aria. You're safe, okay? You're safe."
Her eyes wild with terror, Spencer stared at Aria a moment before her eyes came back into focus and as Aria watched, her friend seemed to crumble before her eyes, collapsing into Aria's arms as she sobbed brokenly against her shoulder.
As the other girls converged on the bed and attempted to comfort Spencer, the door to Hanna's bedroom flew open to reveal Ashley and Caleb. "Hanna!" Hanna quickly made her way over to them, herding them back into the hall and closing her door behind her.
"Hanna, what's going on? Is everything okay? I heard screaming," Ashley said, a concerned look on her face.
Hanna sighed. "Everything's fine. Spencer just had a nightmare," she explained.
Ashley did not look convinced. "That must have been some bad dream."
"Mom, you know Spencer, she's under a lot of stress," Hanna replied, fighting back a grimace at the serious understatement. "And she and Toby are, uh, going through a really harsh break up," she added, shooting Caleb a look.
Ashley still looked dubious and she hadn't missed the look Hanna and Caleb had shared but she also silently acknowledged the fact that Peter and Veronica's youngest daughter was fairly high strung so she didn't push it. "All right, well, let me know if there's anything I can do."
"Thanks, mom," Hanna said, hugging her mom quickly before Ashley returned to her bedroom, leaving Hanna and Caleb alone in the hallway.
"Are you okay?" Caleb asked softly.
Hanna sighed. "Yeah, I guess. But I think I should get back in there. Spencer needs us right now."
"Is she going to be okay?" Caleb hadn't known the brunette very long but he considered her a friend and hadn't liked seeing her so upset any more than the girls had.
Hanna shrugged, gesturing with her hands. "I've never seen her anywhere close to this before, not even when she was first accused of Ali's murder. I just can't believe this is happening." She sighed, rubbing her hands over her face. "Poor Spence. God, I could kill Toby for putting her through this."
Caleb nodded in understanding, rubbing her arm comfortingly. "If you need anything, I'm right across the hall, okay?"
The blonde smiled at her boyfriend, leaning up to press a soft, lingering kiss to his lips. "Thank you."
She pulled back slightly, studying Caleb's face a moment. "What?"
"We're always going to tell each other the truth, right?" Hanna asked.
Caleb nodded. "No more secrets or lies." He smirked at her. "Of course, that means you have to tell me if my jeans make my ass look big."
Caleb's teasing had the desired effect and Hanna giggled for a moment before she caught herself, casting a guilty glance at her bedroom door.
"Go," Caleb said, "It'll be all right. I'll see you in the morning, okay?"
"K. Night." She watched her boyfriend return to the guest room before she turned back to face her own bedroom door, hesitating for a moment before she opened the door and reentered her room.
The truth was, she was scared, she acknowledged to herself as she stood just inside her room, leaning back against the closed door. She didn't know how to deal with this Spencer and she was terrified she wouldn't be able to help her
She was used to brilliant, anal retentive, take no prisoners Spencer Hastings. The girl currently sitting on Hanna's bed sobbing her eyes out was not the brave, confident girl Hanna knew. This girl was someone Hanna didn't recognize. She was…broken.
Of the four girls, Spencer had always been the least trusting and since the trauma of A had started, she had seen enemies everywhere. But somehow Toby had broken down her defenses and wormed his way into her life and her heart.
The tightly wound brunette, unstoppable in a drive to succeed that had been ingrained in her by her family and her own inner motivations, had clearly been changed by her relationship with Toby. Spencer was still an incredibly driven, studious individual, but since Toby had come into her life, she had seemed to relax a little, had even begun to give herself a break when she wasn't 110% perfect in every aspect of her life. Toby had calmed her, eased her mind and her heart, giving her that sense of love and home that Spencer had never gotten from her biological family. Hanna wasn't sure how her intense friend was ever going to survive this blow.
"It's going to be okay, Spence," Aria soothed as Emily rubbed her back. "You're going to get through this. We're here and we're not going anywhere."
Aria's words penetrated Hanna's grim musings and she nodded to herself, pulling herself together as she focused on the situation at hand. The four of them had survived so much together and no matter how bad it had gotten, they had always been there for each other and they had always made it through; they were not going to let this break them. Spencer had always been the strong one, the one who was there for all of them even when things were at their worst. Now it was their turn to carry her for a little while.
Hanna joined her friends on the bed and they each took turns holding the devastated girl, whispering words of comfort and support, promising her over and over that they would get through this latest heartbreak together.
It was a long time before anyone in the house got back to sleep that night.
It was close to noon by the time everyone rose on Saturday and after downing gallons of coffee and trying to draw a mostly unresponsive Spencer into conversation about the previous night, Emily drove to Paige's house to update her on the latest A development while Caleb and the rest of the girls headed into town.
"Do you want to come to my mom's with me?" Aria asked Spencer once Caleb had parked the car and the group was standing on the sidewalk by Lucky Leon's. The tiny brunette was dropping off a few books at Ella's apartment and Hanna and Caleb were going to the Italian market to pick up ingredients for another joint dinner project that evening.
Spencer shook her head; she really didn't feel up to any type of social interaction at the moment. "I need to grab a book for my French essay, I'm going to see if Bookends has it in stock." She didn't add that she add no idea how she was possibly going to pay attention to a novel written in archaic French much less write an essay on it, but she was desperate for something to take her mind off of her current situation.
"Okay. We'll pick you up outside when we're done if that's all right," Caleb told her. Spencer agreed and the four friends split up, heading for their separate destinations.
Once in the store, Spencer quickly found the book she needed and spent a few minutes browsing through the store to give Hanna and Caleb time to finish their shopping. Her heart wasn't in it, however, and she soon gave up, paying for her book and leaving the store.
She stepped outside and glanced at her watch, pursing her lips when she discovered she'd only been in the bookstore for five minutes. It would probably be better, she decided, to just walk over to the market and meet Hanna and Caleb so she wasn't stuck standing around waiting.
Glancing to her right as she shifted her bag to her other hand, she froze, feeling her heart catch in her throat as her eyes landed on a person standing halfway down the block. She would know that profile anywhere. Toby. She turned sharply to her left and quickly began to walk down the sidewalk, praying he wouldn't turn her way. She knew she would have to talk to him eventually but right now, her wounds were still too raw to even think about facing him.
She had reached the end of the block and was about to duck into an alleyway and call Hanna when her plans for escape were dashed.
Her stomach clenched and she tried to take a deep breath to steel herself for the confrontation as she turned around to see Toby quickly approaching.
"Hey!" Toby exclaimed, clearly happy to see his girlfriend. "I thought you weren't home until Monday." He stepped forward with his arms out, stopping in confusion when Spencer took a step back into the alley.
"And I thought you were in Bucks County. Though given the fact that your team has this knack for knowing exactly where I am at any given time, I doubt you're actually surprised to see me."
A sharp chill ran down Toby's spine. "What are you talking about, Spence?" he asked, trying to keep his voice calm. She couldn't be talking about what it sounded like. There was no way she could know.
Spencer's eyes narrowed. "You're a hell of an actor, Toby, but you can drop the act," she informed him, fighting to keep her voice steady. "I know what you did. What you've been doing to me and my friends."
All the color drained from Toby's face and though his mouth was open, no sound came out.
Spencer swallowed hard, closing her eyes a moment to try to push back the tears that were threatening. Despite everything she had seen, there was still a little part of her that had been desperately clinging to the thought that this was just A fucking with her head once more. The look on Toby's face, however, clearly showed her that this was not the case.
Toby took a step toward her and she stepped back once more.
"Don't," she told him, holding up her hand, shaking her head. "My safe place to land," she mocked, laughing bitterly at herself. "This whole time I've been twisting myself in knots over lying to you, worrying about protecting you, and it was all just a game to you."
"Spencer, you don't understand-"
"How the guy who said he loved me, the guy I thought I loved, could do something like this? Could be involved in torturing me and my friends for the past year and a half? You're right, I don't understand. And I don't want to.
"Pretending not to love me was the hardest thing you've ever done?" Spencer scoffed. "What about pretending to love me? Did it make you sick to have to touch me like that? To act like you cared so much? To look me in the eye and tell me you loved me? Or maybe you enjoyed that part of your twisted little game. Let's see how far along we can string pathetic little Spencer until she gives up everything to me – her heart, her trust, her virginity." She choked back a sob. "How could you do that to me?"
"That was never pretend," Toby said earnestly, his eyes begging her to believe him. "I love you, Spencer."
Tears burned at the corners of her eyes and the lump in her throat warned Spencer that she was fast approaching a breakdown but she was determined not to give Toby the satisfaction of seeing her cry. "You don't know what those words mean," she said coldly, turning to walk away.
"Spencer, please!" Toby grabbed her arm, quickly letting go when Spencer jerked her arm away and spun around to face him. He staggered back a step as she stared at him challengingly, the unmistakable sheen of tears in her eyes, and he felt like all the air had been sucked from his lungs.
Her expression was hard but he had seen the flash of fear in her eyes and had felt her flinch beneath his hand.
She was afraid of him.
He was so caught up in his own misery, he didn't even see Hanna flying across the street to where they stood.
Hanna grabbed her friend's arm, ushering her toward Aria who stood a few feet away. The smaller girl linked her arm with Spencer's and led her across the street to where the car waited. Once the girls had started walking away, Hanna turned around to face Toby. Her heart was pounding in her chest at the thought that she was actually facing a member of the A team but memories of a sobbing, broken Spencer trumped her fear as she glared at him. "Stay away from her," she hissed. "From all of us."
Toby didn't respond, nor did he notice Caleb glowering at him from the driver's seat as Hanna hurried back toward the car, his sorrowful gaze locked on Spencer's retreating form. He prayed she would turn and look at him, come back and let him explain, but as he watched despondently, she climbed into the backseat with Aria, never once looking in his direction as the car drove away.
And for the second time in his life, Toby Cavanaugh found himself standing in an alleyway in Rosewood while tears slipped from his eyes, despair gripping his heart like a vise. She was gone, he realized numbly, and it was all his fault.
Note: I had had something slightly different for Spencer's dream originally but after this week's episode, it seemed too similar so I had to change it up a bit. Hopefully, it still worked out all right. Thanks for reading!