A/N - Hey! Yeah I know it's been a little while, but I finally got the chance to sit down and edit this third chapter. This is the last chapter that I had written. Is it worth continuing? Don't worry, if I start this, I won't stop Life As I Know It. Speaking of, I should be able to sit down and write the next chapter in the next week or two. It's been toooo long since I've really written, and it bothers me.
Thanks for the Faves, Follows, and Reviews! It means more than you think.
Nae10 - Yeah the build- up will continue. I like it slower like how a real relationship tends to go... but not so slow that they won't be Paily until the last chapter. Shouldn't be too long.
CiCi - A good different, I assume? I thought it's be interesting for the reversal. And yes, it was Spencer, McHastings for the win! Shana wasn't the original GF. It was some random chick named Christina, but when Shana was introduced in the show, I just changed the name. I like to use actual characters. This chapter is more about Emily, but that has to mean that the next one will be more about Paige right? Maybe.. Well see. ;) Thanks for reading, cici!
Del - Who doesn't like cocky!Paige every once in a while? Blooming.. yes. Something is surely blooming. You'll see. Aria will play a big part in this friendship as will Hanna and Spencer. They'll all play their parts. I just chose Aria because I love her silent and caring friendship with Emily in the show. I hope this next chapter doesn't disappoint.
Darkredeyes - Sorry this update wasn't so soon. I was just so busy that I couldn't even take a breather. Hope this was worth it. :)
mysunshine - Your review made me smile! :D Love is a strong word! LOL. I hope you still LOVE this chapter.
go-sullivan - No you're wrong... It is a point that they are BFFs.. It's just not THE point. But I like them together and they are so similar, that it works. And Em has it REAL bad. Hehehe.
MindFullOfStories- Hey Lil! Are you ready to analyze again? No? Well get ready! Emily and Paige have totally switched roles, but I'm still keeping them at least somewhat true to their characters. I wouldn't say she hates Paige, she's just trying to understand her better. And yes. That was Spencer.. Who else would Paige be with? No one! It's a blooming relationship. They're both gonna have an adventure this year, you'll just be seeing Emily's side of the adventure. I like to write for one POV so it keeps y'all wondering what's going on in the other person's head. Kinda like how we do in real life.
Thanks for the support and I really hope that you'll enjoy this next installment. I'm going back to drink my red now while I relax before I have to sleep in order to work tomorrow. I will try to update either this or Life As I Know It within the next couple weeks. C YA!
"Hey! Thanks for the ride again, Aria." I spoke as I closed the passenger door. "My bike should be getting here in a few days and I'll start taking it when it arrives."
She gave me her usual bright Aria smile, "It's not a problem, really. We're both heading in the same direction and I like the company. Hanna used to ride with me, but thank God she got her own car. She likes to take her sweet time every morning. We would get there a few minutes before the tardy bell rang." She laughed at the memory, allowing me to join along in laughter. "So, how was your first day?" She asked, changing the subject.
"It was okay. My teachers are nice enough and the students here aren't too bad. " I answered. "Getting back into swimming is fun too. I haven't been in a real pool in a few months, so I really do miss it."
"Wait, you haven't swam in months and you still beat Paige?" She asked back, awestruck. I nodded slowly. "Damn girl, that's impressive," she complimented. I lightly blushed at the compliment, still not used to all the attention.
"So what's up with her anyways." I asked, glad for the leeway into this conversation.
"Paige?" I nodded again. "Well... Paige is Paige. She's really easy going about most things, but when it comes to sport, she kinda gets into this competitive streak. Spencer is the same way. I don't think you've officially met Spencer. She sits right next to Paige in Ez- Mr. Fitz's class. They met when we were all younger. They played every sport imaginable and they were rivals in every single one. One day they decided to play for the same team, instead of opposing each other. Ever since then, they've been practically inseparable."
"I see." There was still one question on my mind, but I was hesitant to ask it. "So... what's up with Shana?" I asked anyways.
"Oh... You've met her?" I nodded for a third time. "Shana is... Well to be honest, I don't know her too well. She seems cool, but I don't know her well enough. They've been together for a few months now. She seems kinda clingy to me, but Paige sees something in her that none of us do, so I'll trust that she knows what she's doing." She replied honestly. We parked the car and she turned to face me, "You're cool with the whole gay thing, right? Most people here aren't too used to the gay thing, but it's a small town."
"Yup. Yeah. Cool." I answered quickly before opening the car door. I got out of the car, "Hey I gotta go to see the Coach, so I'll catch you in class!" I announced, leaving as fast as possible, slightly uncomfortable with where the conversation was heading. It was a little to soon to spill my secrets and I was the worst liar, so I left before she could sense something was off.
I immediately went straight to my locker to grab my books before heading off into the natatorium. Once I got there, I sat on the bleachers staring off into the pool. There was no one there but me and it was quite peaceful. My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a girls voice, "Okay. Okay. Okay. I'll be there right after school. I promise."
There was a pause before she spoke again, "I was really busy yesterday! You know that my dad expects me to come straight home and get in the pool for at least an hour!"
There was another pause, "NO! I'm not saying that swimming is more important than you, but I need to be on my game. This is my last year to impress the scouts! You know that if I mess up then I can't get a scholarship and leave this damn town!"
At this point, it was obvious that she was on the phone. I looked over to the side and saw that it was Paige, probably on the phone with her girlfriend, "I know that you want me there, but I can only stretch myself so thin! I've got so much homework and my dad's on my ass all the time! I want to hang out with you, but I can't do that every fucking day!"
I heard a growl before I heard her scream, "FUCKING HELL!" She threw the phone down and it smashed into the ground. "Fuck me." She said in a lower voice as she realized that her phone was now obsolete. It was then that she noticed me sitting on the bleachers, "Are you fucking everywhere?!"
"Sorry," I apologized as I stood up and stepped down the bleachers. I got off the last step and was about to make my way out of the room when her voice stopped me.
"No. I'm sorry. You don't have to leave. You were her first. I didn't expect anyone to be here this early. I'm usually the only one here before class. She sat down on the bleachers right next to where I was standing blankly staring at her. "I'm sorry for snapping at you, it's just there's a lot of pressure on my lately. My dad's on my times and my girlfriend is on my lack of time with her. Sometimes I just wanna up and leave this place and go do something for myself for once." She took a deep breath in and sighed. I hesitantly took a seat by this stressed out swimmer, not knowing if she wanted me there or not. So far Paige was so hot and cold with me. At times it seems like she dislikes me, but then there are moments like these where she seemed like she wanted my company.
"You're a swimmer, are your folks always on your ass?" She asked, staring absently into the pool.
"Not really. My ma is always supportive of what I want to do, and my dad really isn't around much to play a part in what I do." I replied honestly.
She looked at me for the first time in minutes, "Really? What's he up to?" She inquired.
"He's in the Army. It plays a big part in his life." It was my turn to sigh at the thought of my father, "I know he loves me and everything, but it sucks for him to be gone all the time.
She laughed dryly, "Really, I wish my dad was gone for often." I suppose she processed what she just said to me and corrected herself immediately, "I didn't mean it like that. You must be worried about him and miss him all the time."
"Yeah, I do. But it makes the times I do have with him, more important. Makes me never take him for granted."
We both silently stared at the pool, just enjoying the quiet company for another few minutes before the first bell rang, "Sorry, I must have been bothering you with my rants and questionings." Yeah, times like these where she sweet and not competitive.
"No worries. Just because I don't have a father and a girlfriend on my every move, doesn't mean that I don't know how you feel every once in a while." I said while getting to my feet, "We better get to class. Can't be late for my second day." She smiled and it brightened up her face. I could get used to this smile.
"Yeah. First impressions are everything. Which takes me to my first impression. I'm really sorry for how I acted yesterday. I can get a little carried away sometimes and it makes it hard to think about how I treat others." I nod, silently accepting her apology, as we made our way out of the natatorium and to Mr. Fitz's classroom.
We entered the classroom and chose a pair of desks pushed together towards the back of the room, to occupy. Shortly after, the tardy bell rang and the young teacher grabbed our attention. "Alright class! I see that everyone got the idea that they should have sat with their partners. Those who didn't and sat next to their friends in this obviously set up room, you fail. Leave now..." He laughed at his joke lonesomely. I could see Aria giggle softly while shaking her head at him, before he continued, "Okay. This is a cold audience, but that's okay. Let's move on." He passed out a packet of papers to the front of the class and they all passed it back to those of us behind them, "Lord of the Flies! You have the books! You should have started the books. These are the instruction sheets on what you are to do and sitting around class all period gossiping about Ryan Gosling isn't one of them. You are to work with your partners for the next eight class periods and you will have to present to the whole class at the end of next week. Any questions, take them up with me or Alice, my class assistant." He walked back over his his desk and took a seat, leaving the rest of the class to gossip.
"So how far along are you?" Paige asked while flipping through the instruction sheets.
"Uh... page... uhh... two?" Her laughter fills the air in our little corner. I could get used to that too.
"Well that's about deux pages more than me, so you got me beat... again," she said with a lighter laugh. "We could spend study hall, next period, reading if you want." She suggested.
"How do you know I have study hall next?" I asked, surprised.
"Er.. I have it with you..." She looked at me with a quirked eyebrow, "Damn Fields! When you are in the zone, you really don't take your surroundings in, do you? Besides, most of us senior swimmers who are on track, practically have the same schedule. It makes it easier to place us in P.E. for sixth, so we can go straight to swimming after." She explained, thoroughly, "But yeah, we don't have to spend our study hall in that particular classroom. Mr. Carlson is real old and he's about to retire at the end of the year. He won't notice, much less care if we skip out."
"Uh, yeah. Sure." I accepted.
We spent the rest of the period reading silently before the bell rang and we were excused to attend our next classes. We both parted ways and went to our respective lockers to put away everything but our book. We met up by the front office like we agreed upon sometime earlier in class. "So where are we going?" I asked curiously. She nodded towards a door nearby and walked towards it. I followed her silently waiting to find out where we were headed. She surveyed the area around us and when she saw that we were truly alone, she opened the door to reveal a set of stairs. She held the door open and gestured me in, closing the door once we were both inside. I followed her up the three flights of stairs that led to a door. On the other side of the door was the rooftop with a couple of chairs by the edge.
"This is my safe haven away from the pool. My best friend, Spencer, and I found it freshman year when we were trying to find a place to hide from the hustle and bustle of the school." She explained to me as we took our seats. "I go here when life just gets too much."
I stared out into the town. "Wow... You can see everything from here!" I exclaimed, awestruck. "I used to have a place like this in California. Went there when my family or my relationship was getting on me." I opened up to her. "It's nice and comforting to have an oasis away from your life. I spent a lot of time there in my last few months. My ma telling me that it was time to leave my home. When my dad said that he wasn't coming this time. When I found out that the person I was dating was cheating on me, because they thought it was pointless to stay faithful when I was about to leave anyways."
She looked at me and I swear that she was staring straight into my soul, "What's her name?"
My eyes locked with hers when she asked the question, "Her? H-H-How did you know?" I stuttered.
Paige smirked, "It's not hard to find something out when you know what you're searching for."
"What?" I asked, confused.
"Well first of all, when you are in the locker rooms, you change quickly without looking up at any of the girls, so that means you don't want anyone to notice that you are looking at them. Second, I've seen you three days and every one of those three days you were wearing some sort of plaid. Third when you talked about her you used the word person and they. I know assuming makes an ass out of you and me, but my gaydar is impeccable. Admit it. You are gay."
I was amazed, she was the first person who caught on. I wasn't going to let it show though, so I turned the tables on her. "So you've been watching me, huh?"
She instantly blushed and looked down, avoiding my eyes, "I- er- uh-. Not many new people in town, so when someone new arrives, I just take notice. Don't think too much of it, Fields." There she goes again – calling me Fields.
We were quiet for a while staring into the town, while I thought of my ex-girlfriend. "Maya," I finally answered.
"Huh?" She asked placing her gaze on me once again.
"Miss Unfaithful. Her name was Maya. Maya St. Germain."
"Oh." She said so quietly that I barely caught it.
"We were together for about two years and I thought that we were in love. No. We were in love." I continued, putting emphasis on the word 'were'. "I thought that we were really going for the long run. Even when I knew that I was leaving, I foolishly thought that she was going to wait for me to come back next year. We had planned it all. I was going to stay here for the year and head back to California for college. She pulled me along too, letting me believe that she wanted it as well. I was so naive. Why would she wait for me?"
Paige looked at me with sad eyes and I held back tears as I gave her the play by play, "It happened on July 29th, a month before I left. At least that was when she was caught. It was a Saturday and we were supposed to go out that night. I was missing her because she was busy with her 'family' all week and I was spending as much time with my dad as I could. I left my house early because I wanted to surprise her. I entered through the back door, like I always did and went up the stairs. There was loud music coming from her room, so she didn't hear me knocking. I opened the door and found her there. Between some girl's legs." The tears were now free falling from my eyes, "She turned around and saw me but didn't come after me like I expected her to. She didn't even care enough to come after me!" I was now close to yelling, as I pulled out my phone. I opened up my text messages and handed my phone to a very attentive Paige. "She sent me this message later on that night"
Our break-up was inevitable. I'm just sorry you had to find out that way. - Maya
She read the message softly to herself and looked back at me pityingly. For the first time since I started she spoke, "I'm sorry. That really must have been heartbreaking. But you deserve much better than that bitch. Life has much more in store for you." She smiled at me and it warmed my heart.
We were silent doing nothing but staring off into the distance for the longest while, until the sound of the door slamming close startled us. "PAIGE MCCULLERS! You said that you were gonna meet me during your study period! I've been looking for you for the past twenty minutes!" Shana chastised.
Paige immediately stood up, "Sorry. I forgot. Emily and I were figuring out our project." She walked towards her girlfriend and looked back at me apologetically. She waved and left me alone on the roof as she walked through the door.
I sat there pulling myself together for my next class when my phone beeped.
Your secret is safe with me, Fields. :) - Paige
I almost forgot that we had exchanged numbers for the project earlier. I smiled at the text and sat there for the rest of the period, contemplating my new found friendship.
I unlocked my phone and started texting my best friend as I left the roof to head to my next class.
Her name is Paige. - Ems