A/N: Well it's been exactly one month since I finished my last story and well regardless of how insanely school smothers me I still find the urge to write another Spashley fic, along with the persuasion of someone. You know who you are. I plan on updating once a week. That's the plan and I shall try my best to stick with it. Reviews are always enjoyable for any writer if you enjoy the read we like to know so please don't hesitate to say how these chapters make you feel, what you like, what you don't like etc. So enough chatter enjoy the chapter!
Disclaimer: Except the idea and original characters I own nothing. Spencer and Ashley do not belong to me but if they did...*sighs*
Ever Heard of Email?
Can you believe it's been seventeen years? I can't wait to see you next week. Things have been extremely hectic. I'll be travelling all week but should be back in the states in time for our meet up…
"You still write those things?"
Ashley puts her pen down looking over to her partner. She scoffs as she readjusts in her chair. The airplane seat is starting to become a bit uncomfortable after twelve hours. The twenty five year old photographer looks at her friend and assistant of three years.
"Why wouldn't I still be writing these things? I've been writing these things since I was eight." Ashley emphasizes 'these things' with an attitude more than a little insulted as she stares at her assistant who cowers in his seat.
Chase scratches his brow as he thinks of something clever to say in a form of an apology. He brushes his fingers through the bangs of his brown hair that falls in the middle of his forehead. His shaggy mane moving as he shakes his head.
"I don't mean it that way. I'm just saying it's been how long and you still only see her once a year?"
Chase pushes his laptop further onto the small table looking away from his work of organizing the pictures Ashley had taken on their job in the Philippines.
The brunette just shrugs as she looks down at her first of many pages. Her gaze drifts towards the upper right hand corner of the paper grazing her thumb over the set of numbers. This is letter seven hundred and twenty six, she can't believe she's written so many letters as well as been on the receiving end of the same amount. She still remembers getting her first letter from her pen pal. She knows exactly where it is in her apartment back in Boston. The one she never stays in, her job making her travel more often than not.
A class project from second grade became a weekly custom that Ashley and Spencer have yet to find trivial. In fact the pages became longer as years pass. Best friends through words. Though their schedules were hectic they make sure to see each other on the same day, same place every year. Every other time it is just through snail mail in a speedy society and sporadic phone calls.
"It's our thing we're both busy but we don't trade that day for anything. She's my best friend and we love how we communicate."
"I don't know how you do it." Chase comments as he stretches his long, lanky arms above his head.
"Well you don't have to." She retorts pulling his arms down trying to avoid the sweat stains under her friend's arms grimacing in disgust.
He blushes and folds his arms over a chest. "You try being on a plane for twelve hours and not sweating."
"I already am because I use deodorant. Now stop bugging me I've got to concentrate."
"Wouldn't it be easier if you just used email it's faster, more efficient."
"It's also impersonal and less intimate."
"Intimate huh?" Chase wiggles his eyebrows and Ashley flicks him on the side of the face.
"Your face is hideous enough you don't need to make it worse with facial expressions."
He laughs dryly rubbing the small red area on his cheek. "Ashley all I'm saying is I see how you are with women and this is your longest relationship with another woman ever."
"That's because Spencer and I are just friends." She forces her eyes to stare hard into Chase's green ones. She notices them roll and she grits her teeth annoyed. She hates when he brings this up.
"Except you're in love with her. When are you going to tell her?"
"Uh never. She's straight so what's the point? Also with the way the magazine has me travelling there's no way to maintain a relationship."
"Yeah and she's a surgeon that lives in the operating room so it's not like either of you have this massive amount of free time but yet you still find a way to communicate with each other. You guys have better communication than couples that see each other every day."
Ashley shrugs nonchalantly and looks out the small window. She rests her head against her seat releasing a heavy sigh. She feels Chase's eyes on her then their absence as he goes back to work leaving the topic exactly where it always ends up whenever they discuss the letter writing.
The photographer rubs her tired eyes as she adjusts the overhead light and pulls one of Spencer's letters out of her bag and reads it again for the umpteenth time. Reading once is never enough.
Welcome to my week of hell. I just started my first forty eight hours of internship in the hospital and I think I'm going to die. Seriously don't tell me I'm being dramatic because well I'm not. My resident scares me. I think she's a vampire her carnivore teeth are a little too big if you ask me. There's this one girl trying to talk to me and I look at her like uh I already have a best friend. I don't think she's catching the hint. Or maybe I'm not doing the look right make sure to remind me to have you teach me again. I know you said I have to make friends but I don't want to I just wish you were here. Is it June fifth yet? Anyway yeah my resident is a complete witch, a vampire yeti witch. Yes she is I don't care what you say and take the smirk off your face that I know you have on. I was really hoping this would be like Grey's Anatomy from season three on but nope exactly like season one. The first episode every single day. Good thing I like to run because my resident is like Flojo and hard to keep up with. I have this patient that keeps flirting with me I'd be extremely flattered if he wasn't in his eighties. He tried to convince me he was Hugh Hefner and I probably would've believed him if he wasn't Asian.
The cafeteria food is deplorable. I'm really starting to feel for the patients. I can't complain about the tapioca pudding though. Ever notice how fun it is to say pudding? Say it. Come on say it. Ha! I bet you said it more than once and ended up laughing. I miss your laugh. I miss a lot of things about you. I think you should move back even if you are never home at least the times that you are we can be closer to each other. I know I'm being a baby but I need you Otter. When I have my melt downs only writing you helps. Imagine what you actually being here would do. Is it because of my cooties that you don't want to see me for more than one day? How many times do I have to tell you that I've gotten my shots and I'm completely cured?!
So how's…Veronica? Victoria? Valerie!? Does it even start with a V? Anyway whatever letter of the alphabet her name starts with how is she? Is she treating you right? She better or she will succumb to my wrath. Nobody wants to see that. I broke it off with James you think I'd feel bad but I don't he was way too clingy and didn't understand my ambition. I don't think anyone understands my ambition the way you do. He just didn't feel right I'm starting to think I'm going to be one of those spinsters with cats. Except I hate cats. Is there some sort of rule that it has to be cats? Can I have a dog, or like a duckling. I've always wanted a duckling ever since that movie "Fly Away Home". See what you can do about that mini plane that girl had just in case I have to be their leader for any migration flights. With all the planes you've been on I'm sure you know how to build one by now. By the way I love my postcard from Venice and of course I'd go on a gondola ride with you even if they are for lovers. We make our own rules in our relationship and I'm pretty sure those guys just want money so it's not like they are going to say we can't go on the boat.
Where are you off to now? I saw your latest work. I swear you are the best photographer ever. The way you capture the most beautiful scenes and bring them to life makes my heart stop every time I see something you took. It's almost as bad as every time I see you, nothing works me up than knowing you're on your way. It sucks that we have to wait so long before seeing each other. I won't make you feel bad, I promise. Maybe this year you can stay longer than a day? Yes I know I'm clingy just call me James. Love you Otter.
Ashley smiles she reads the letter over again. It is an old one from September. Reading the letters more than once is an activity they both indulge in. The brunette completely smitten over Spencer since she could remember the blonde sometimes made suggestions of her feelings for Ashley but has yet to say anything straight out. Ashley keeps her feelings in check, she is at the cusp of her career and a relationship isn't something she has time for at the moment. She also doesn't think it fair to put their seventeen year old friendship on the line. She rather have Spencer as her best friend than nothing at all.
She writes her response letter to the most recent one that Spencer sent, smiling at all the appropriate places. She is behind by three letters in response. Their letters never match up equally with all the places Ashley travels to. She periodically makes a pit stop to her Boston apartment to pick up all the letters that have come while she is out of town. She rubs the back of her strained neck and starts her letter.
The photographer and her assistant shake their legs out as they walk through the loading bridge. Ashley adjusts her camera on her shoulder pulling her carryon behind her. Once in the terminal she drops her bag carefully onto the seats that line in front of the terminal and pulls her cell phone from her back pocket. Checking the time she yawns obnoxiously and stretches cracking her back.
She sits down crossing her feet at the ankles leaning over burying her head in her lap. She feels her seat move a little as Chase drops next to her. He rubs her back soothingly and she sighs in comfort. The action more than welcomed but no one comforts her better than Spencer.
The duo sits waiting in Detroit Metro Airport during an hour layover before their last destination. They spent several hours traveling from Manila, to Tokyo, and now they sit in Detroit waiting for a flight to Montreal. Ashley's newest assignment is to head into Canada's booming province taking photos of the town's most trendy restaurants and unique food for a human interest piece that her boss assigned her before she left the Philippines.
She checks her phone again the light slightly blinding as it illuminates the small bit of darkness her face is hidden in as she rests her head in the small space between her arms and lap. She groans impatiently and quickly sits up.
"She'll call relax."
"I'm not worried."
"Mhm." Chase mumbles unconvinced as he points further down the terminal and says something along the lines of 'coffee'. Ashley assumes that's what he says as she stares at the dark screen on her phone.
Her heart pounds as the seconds pass by then it quickly lurches as she sees Spencer's face with her tongue sticking out and 'Penguin' written at the top of the screen. Ashley answers the call and bites her lip excitedly.
"Otter." Spencer greets in a groggy voice.
Ashley's flight one of the first to arrive in the airport that day meant that Spencer is still asleep but manages to wake up for a call they've both planned for several weeks. The brunette has been out of the country for the past three months and this one hour is all they have until their hectic schedule envelops them. Requiring them to rely on their favorite form of communication, their letters.
Ashley's stomach warms at the sound of the blonde's voice and she forces the feeling away so she can manage a conversation with her pen pal.
"Penguin." She whispers but excitement still evident.
She can hear Spencer's smile which makes her smile. It breaks wider as Spencer giggles.
"Otter you got to say something in order for this to be a conversation."
"I missed you." Shoots out of her mouth and though she is sure that the woman that is three hours behind misses her too but she can't help feel that it may not be in the same way.
"I missed you more. I can't wait to see you."
"Right back at you Penguin."
"You're staying more than a day this time right?"
Ashley can hear the inflection in the surgeon's tone and she sighs sadly.
"Otter…" Spencer matches her tone.
"I can't I'm sorry. Plus I mean you'll be on call the whole time so what if there's an emergency?"
There is silence on both ends of the line. "Well at least we have the one day."
The anticipation for the day once a joy now it doesn't seem to be enough. A day they both look forward to so much also holds a sense of dread because they know it will only be that one day. Not once in the past seventeen years have they spent more than that one day together. Their busy lives always a nuisance from them being together but they always cherish June fifth.
Ashley swallows the lump in her throat as she tries to shake off the sadness in her heart. "Yeah at least we have that."
Ashley can hear Spencer readjusting herself on her bed to a more comfortable position and she closes her eyes as she imagines lying right next to her. Pulling her close and burying her face in her neck, kissing softly.
Spencer giggles and the brunette can imagine that she is shaking her head at her lack of attention.
"I asked you how your trip was. Tell me about it."
Slouches down in the chair and begins to regale her love of her three months of travel. Jumping between three continents snapping away at landscapes, animals, and the people of the small part of earth that she was sent to. She loves her job the only crappy part about is that times when she is free Spencer isn't and vice versa.
Ashley smiles at all the questions Spencer has for her about all the places she has been. The blonde hasn't been able to travel as much as her confidant. She has lived in Monterey, California her whole life. The only time she left was for medical school and even then she was still in the states. Ashley was out of the country more than she was in the states for the past seven years of her life.
They kept the conversation light wanting to keep all the deep conversations for when the saw each other. Spencer sighs as she realizes how much time has passed. The voice of the flight attendant rings through the terminal and the brunette pouts sadly.
"You got to go huh?"
"Yeah it's about that time."
The both linger and Ashley sees Chase coming towards her, never realizing he has been gone this whole time. It's always like that when she's with Spencer no one else exists. He hands his boss a coffee and she smiles gratefully.
"Alright I'll talk to you soon okay?" Ashley stands up getting her things ready. She walks with Chase as they stand in line to board their last flight. She hears the blonde whimper.
"Spence I'm sorry. I tried okay I really wish I could."
"I know I just wish you actually managed some actual time here."
Ashley's heart constricts as she hands the stewardess her boarding pass and passport.
"We can't have this conversation every year penguin."
They walk into the tunnel, Ashley ignoring the curious look Chase is giving her.
"I know but I mean we can't keep ignoring it either."
"We'll talk about when I see you next week."
Ashley imagines the blonde pouting, good thing she doesn't actually see it because she knows full well that is her ultimate weakness. She enters the plane and sits in her designated seat. She hands her things to Chase so he can put them in the over head compartment as she tries to leave her pen pal in a better mood.
"You always say that."
"I know but I get so excited to see you I don't want to talk about anything that will make us sad. Let's just see how we do when I see you okay?"
"Fine." Spencer mumbles out petulantly and Ashley would love nothing more than to kiss the blonde and her pout away. "See you next week."
With reluctant goodbyes Ashley finally hangs up the phone then quickly puts a hand over Chase's mouth.
"Don't say a word."
He just raises his eyebrows as she can feel his lips moving as he slides them into his mouth to form a thin line. She nods once then settles in her extra large seat. Quietly sipping her coffee she tries her best not to look at her friend. He only stares harder.
"You didn't tell her?"
"No because I'm not staying more than one day."
"Ashley for the first time ever you've got two weeks off and no place to be. Why didn't you say anything? She obviously wants to you around and you obviously want to be around."
"That's the thing I don't. I can't handle no more than a day. It hurts too much. Plus she only wants me there longer for one thing. One dreaded freaking thing I refuse to do."
"Meet her fiancé."
Short for the first chapter just want to get a feel of what you think of the idea, let me know thanks for reading!