Tonight, like everything in her life lately, hadn't gone as planned. For the first time in weeks since Paige had left home, she had found herself a certain bed for the night. Not just a bed, a bed she'd be sharing with a girl, a girl, she suspected, who wanted to do a lot more than sleep. And now that wasn't going to happen.
Paige had been back in Rosewood for a few weeks, and luckily nobody she'd used to know had seemed to notice. After finding out what had happened with her Dad back in Baltimore, her old friend Caleb had suggested that by coming back to Rosewood he could help her find some place to stay while she figured out what to do next, and maybe help make a little money to get by on as well. He had been in a somewhat similar predicament before, and knew of plenty of places to lay low. She had met Shana a week ago after ending up on one of her friends couches, and the other girl had become a welcome distraction. She'd found Paige this afternoon, smirking as she told her she had her house to herself, asking her to to stay over and suggesting that maybe they could get to know each other a little better with a wink.
They had never made it to her house of course. In the short time they had known each other Paige had discovered that Shana had a knack for getting into dubious situations. She had been telling Paige about the old DiLaurentis house, how it was supposedly haunted, that people had seen Alison's ghost in the windows in passing. She had went missing a few months before Paige and her family left Rosewood, the police had found her body a year later but still hadn't found out what had happened, though there were plenty of rumours floating around about it. The house had gained more notoriety after the body of another girl had been found there just 6 months before now. In an attempt to appear bold, to impress the other girl, Paige had suggested they try breaking in to check it out. Shana liked that idea.
Getting caught, however, Shana didn't like so much. Having climbed in through the back window, they had spent had spent time scaring each other, giggling as they tumbled around in the darkness, before ending up making out on an old bed upstairs. Hearing a noise downstairs, Paige had gone to check it out, assuming it was nothing, fully intent on scaring Shana when she returned. She was out of luck; as she reached the top of the stairs the policeman had called out, they were busted. Running back to the bedroom, thinking maybe that they both could figure out a way to escape, she was sad to discover Shana had already found one, she was long gone, and Paige had ended up carted off to the station.
"How long have you been sleeping rough Miss Mccullers?" the officer, officer Bob he'd said to call him, asked, pointing to the sleeping bag and duffel on the table in front of them. He seemed to have been satisfied that neither of the girls were going to steal anything from the house, that they were just two kids looking for a quick thrill. Shana was not at all pleased that Paige had told them she had been there, pissed that she had ended up being brought back to the station, bringing Paige's things with her and letting slip about the other girls recent living situation. They had let her go with a caution, and she'd made it clear she wasn't interested in seeing Paige again that night. He'd decided to ask Paige more questions when he had discovered that nobody would be coming to pick her up. She'd explained that she had become emancipated from her father, not really wanting to go in to detail about the hows and whys, praying that he wouldn't try to verify her version of events, but he hadn't seemed to buy it. To make matters worse, she'd caught the attention of Pam Fields when she had been brought in, unaware that the older woman was working here now, the concern evident on her face as she'd seen the young girl walk past her. She could see her now outside the question room talking animatedly on the phone to someone and her heart sank when she realised that she might have managed to contact her dad somehow, that she'd tell him about where she'd ended up, that her story would be blown. She couldn't go back to him, and even if she wanted to she wash't entirely sure he would let her. "are you sure there is nobody that we can call?"
"There isn't anybody." Paige told him, and he started explaining how he'd help her find somewhere to stay, that he'd have to help her find a long term solution to her problems. Just as Paige was about to protest, Mrs Fields walked in the room, pulling him to one side and talking in a hushed tone, Officer Bob shaking his head and sighing before leaving.
"I wish you would've told me you were in Rosewood Paige," she said, and Paige, unable to think of anything to say, having really wanted to avoid talking to her, just shrugged and let out a deflated 'sorry'. "I've worked things our here, you'll be staying with us for the time being."
"Mrs Fields you really don't have to..." Paige began but she was already gathering up the young girls things and motioning for her to follow her from the room. This was not how Paige had imagined the night would end.
"You're mother was a dear friend of mine Paige, I'm sure she would rather you be staying with people who knew you, than a shelter or god knows what." Her mother had been good friends with Pam since college, though they had drifted apart slightly before the Mccullers had moved to Baltimore 2 years ago. When her mother had taken ill they had moved there so she could be closer to family before she died. "I don't know whats happened between you and your father since you moved away, or how you've ended up like this, but you'll be staying with us until we can figure something out," Paige began to protest but Pam just waved her off again, "it's not up for discussion. Lets get you home."
"Thanks Mrs Fields," Paige had always liked Pam, despite how stern she could seem she was a caring woman, and deep down she knew she was lucky to have her looking out for her still after all this time. Maybe it would be a good thing, staying at the Fields would give her time to figure out what to do about her current situation with the added support of her mothers one-time best friend.
"Call me Pam," the older woman smiled leading the way outside to her car. "I know its not the best, but I'll set up the camp bed in Emily's room for the time being, I'm sure she'll be happy to see you." The enthusiasm Paige had for her new temporary home waned instantly when Pam brought up her daughter. Emily. She could remember perfectly the last time they had spoken, it was just after her mother had been diagnosed, two days after what had been their last kiss.
Paige very much doubted Emily would be happy to see her at all.
"I haven't seen you at school lately," Emily said, cautiously sitting beside Paige. She'd seen her sitting alone in the park, and after some deliberation had decided to just go and talk to the girl.
"I missed a couple of days," Paige replied, not meeting the tanner girls gaze.
"I'm sorry to hear about your Mom, if theres anything I can do…"
"Theres isn't." Paige said, a little harshly. "Thanks anyway." She added quickly, bringing herself to look at the other girl. After everything that had happened between them in the past it still amazed her how much kindness Emily continued to be willing show her.
"I know that it probably isn't the best time right now, but I really think we should talk about what happened,"
"Theres nothing to talk about." Paige's response was harshly spoken once again, and this time she stood up to leave, "see you around Emily."
"Please don't do this Paige," Emily pleaded, standing up to follow her. "Not again. I know your hurting right now, and I know you're confused, but…"
"Leave it Emily." She said firmly, turning to face the other girl, "It meant nothing okay, I'm not like you."
"Thats what you said the first time, and the second time…" Emily said, her caring tone from before long gone. "We can't keep acting like its nothing, not when it happens again and again, its not nothing Paige, not to me."
"It meant nothing to me," Paige repeated, desperately trying to get the other girl to drop it. This was not something she could deal with right now. As much as she knew she was hurting Emily, as much as she wanted to tell the other girl that it could never mean nothing, that it meant everything, the last thing she needed now was her parents finding out that she was gay. Her dad had not taken the news well when he found out about Emily, it being clear to Paige that he was not happy with her spending any amount time with the other girl, she didn't want to imagine how he'd react to her.
"You still want to act like nothing has happened?" Emily asked, the hurt evident on her face. Trying her best to hide her own upset, Paige nodded.
"Consider it forgotten."
"I've got it….Mom why do I need the camp bed?" Emily asked walking out of the garage, dragging the camp bed behind her. She had been enjoying pizza and a movie with her friends when her mother had called telling her to set up the old camp bed in her room, "Oh. I didn't realise, I haven't seen her…Hanna and Spencer are here, they can help me set it up…okay Mom...see you soon" Hanging up the phone she exhaled shakily. Paige Mccullers was back in Rosewood. Paige Mccullers was going to be in her house. She noticed her friends looking at her questioningly and continued to drag the camp bed to the foot of the stairs.
"Are we having a sleepover? Shotgun the bed," Hanna said in-between bites of pizza.
"That was my Mom on the phone, there was a situation work, and well…Paige Mccullers is moving in for a bit," she spoke the last words quietly, they sounded so strange. She was silently hoping that her friends wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
"She's is Rosewood? Caleb never mentioned anything," Hanna said, before Spencer interrupted her.
"Paige Mccullers? As in Pigskin Paige Mccullers?" Emily sighed when she heard Spencer's use of Alison's old nickname for Paige.
"Don't call her that. She's gotten in to some trouble, and my Mom wants her to stay with us while she sorts it out."
"Is your Mom aware that Paige used to make your life a living hell?" Spencer asked, and Emily sighed, she really didn't want to get into this. "She tried to drown you once Emily, what if she tries to suffocate you in your sleep?"
"That was a long time ago Spencer, I'm sure she's moved past whatever was bothering her, I don't know how long she's planning on being here, please, just…at least try to be civil with her," She said, almost pleading with her friend to let it go. She knew that in a way Spencer's dislike of Paige was somewhat justified, though in some ways she did regret not telling her friends the complete story of what had went on between herself and Paige when they were younger. Maybe then they could be a little more forgiving about the way Paige had treated her.
Thankfully after a few more questions about exactly why Paige Mccullers was taking up residence in her home, most of which she wasn't equipped to answer, her friends had left, though not before Spencer made Emily promise to call her should anything happen. Emily had scoffed at the idea that Paige would try to harm her, from what she remembered Paige was harmless to everyone but herself. She was apprehensive to see her again after all this time. With the Paige she used to know she had never been able to be certain which version of the girl she would be greeted with. On some occasions, Paige was sweet, painfully honest, even fun, she'd made Emily feel safe and at ease. Other times, she would be so guarded, angry and often unnecessarily cruel. There had never seemed to be an in between. The prospect of spending weeks walking on eggshells around the girl was not something she was looking forward to. There were so many questions she had for the younger girl, but she didn't know whether she'd be able to ask them. Emily hoped that in her time away Paige had managed to deal with her issues somehow, but from what her mother had told her briefly on the phone it didn't sound like things had gotten any better. Adding in the way things had been left between them before Paige moved away, the whole prospect of seeing her again was causing her nothing but unease.
For now she had no choice but to wait.
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