Paige had woken up early, managing with great effort to carefully extract herself from Emily's arms before leaving the other girl sleeping soundly, quietly making her way to the shower. She let herself linger under the water, feeling anxious about the day ahead. When she had first reconnected with Emily she could see clearly the pain that Maya's death had caused, and over their time together, she had also observed how Emily had worked to move forward, much like she herself had done with her own issues, allowing them both to get to where they were now, together and apart. Grief and loss she understood, just like she understood the need to move forward. But what would happen to Emily now that things were being dragged up once again? That was something she was unsure of. Then there was whether or not to tell her Father about last night, this morning, wondering whether he would sympathise or just end up being disappointed with her once again.
Opting to forego using her dryer as to not wake Emily, she towelled off her hair and got dressed in the bathroom, checking in on her girlfriend as she made her way down the hallway, smiling softly finding Emily had nuzzled into one of her pillows in her absence. Closing the door as quietly as possible, she made her way back into the lounge. Picking up her phone from the coffee table, she noticed she had a number of messages; one from Spencer asking her if she had seen the news or spoken to Emily, guessing she'd seen the news herself and was worrying about her friend, one from Caleb asking a similar question and one from her Father who was completely oblivious, informing her he'd be back later that night. She sighed as she flopped back onto the couch, flicking the TV on, catching a glimpse of a headline before quickly flicking the TV off again when she heard footsteps behind her.
"Morning," she heard, standing to see Emily leaning against the wall at the end of the hall, eyes drifting from the screen to Paige, watching her as she stood from the couch to lean against it. Paige's breath caught a little at the sight of her girlfriend, Emily wearing little more than Paige's oversized Eagles sweatshirt she had pulled from her dresser the night before. Her eyes roamed appreciatively over Emily for a moment, her head dipping with a blush when she realised Emily had caught her.
"Sorry you're just…so hot this morning," Emily laughed lightly before making her way toward her, pushing Paige backwards so she was trapped between the couch and her own body, linking her hands behind the other girls neck.
"I'm not hot every morning?" Emily said teasingly, Paige simply rolling her eyes.
"Every morning I see you…probably the ones I don't," Paige said wryly, before glancing appreciatively down over Emily once again. "You look really good in this," she smirked, tugging lightly on the hem for emphasis. "Really good,"
"Maybe I'll hold onto it then," Emily laughed, watching as Paige shook her head in embarrassment.
"You should," Paige smirked. Wrapping one arm around Paige's waist to steady herself, Emily leant forward to pick up the remote from behind her girlfriend on the couch. She flicked on the TV once again, Paige's arms tightening around her girlfriend as she heard the broadcast playing out behind her, Emily's chin resting on the other girls shoulder as she watched.
Teen arrested over unsolved murder. Not thought to be linked to ongoing DiLaurentis case.
The thought of Alison's murder hadn't even occurred to Emily the night before. She didn't recognise the face of the man on the screen, she didn't recognise his name. Paige heard Emily let out an almighty sigh, opening her mouth to say something comforting, closing it just as quickly as she realised she didn't know what to say. Emily clicked the TV off once again, pushing in to Paige forcefully so they fell backwards onto the couch. Paige stared up at her girlfriend, unsure of what the look on her face meant. Emily leant down, kissing her lightly, before adjusting their positions and resting her head lightly on Paige's chest. "Are you okay?" Paige asked somewhat dumbly, fairly certain that the answer to that question was obvious.
"I don't know," Emily answered truthfully with a sigh. Paige, for lack of any better idea, simply pulled the other girl closer. "Distract me."
"Hmm?" Paige mumbled, feeling Emily moving to position herself over Paige once again, tugging her up slightly so she was straddling her waist.
"Distract. Me." Emily smirked, punctuating each word with a kiss. Paige smiled softly, leaning forward to chastely kiss her girlfriend, her hands ghosting lightly over Emily's bare thighs as she pulled away. Emily leant forward once again, capturing Paige's lips and quickly deepening the kiss. She sighed into the kiss as she felt Paige move closer, the hands that were resting on her thighs moving around to the small of her back beneath her sweatshirt. She felt Paige taking control of the kiss, her movements becoming bolder, Emily unable to stop herself letting out a small moan. Her mind began to go blank, focused on nothing but Paige, the kiss, and the hands that were roaming beneath her shirt. It was exactly what she wanted, needed at that moment. So when she felt Paige pull away, she couldn't hold back the groan that escaped her mouth. "Why are you stopping?"
"Your Mom," Paige said breathlessly, slowly sliding her hands from under Emily's shirt and resting them either side of her on the couch. "She's expecting us,"
"Isn't it worth being a little late?" Emily said, playing lightly with Paige's ponytail.
"I promised we'd be there early, and that we'd behave,"
"When did you become such a goody-goody?" Emily teased.
"Oh shush. C'mon, let's get you dressed," Paige said, lifting Emily slightly and sliding out from beneath her, holding out her hand to pull the other girl up.
"Five more minutes?" Emily asked, tugging lightly so Paige fell back on top of her, kissing her gently and wrapping her arms around her waist.
"You always want five more minutes," Paige said with a fake sigh, unable to deny Emily anything, leaning back down to capture the other girls lips once again.
Paige sat silently at the counter in the Fields kitchen, hands wrapped tightly around her coffee cup. She'd kept her promise, driving back with a reluctant Emily early to meet Mrs Fields right on time for breakfast. Emily had decided to wait until she was home to shower and change, leaving Paige downstairs with her Mom. Paige smiled to herself as she watched the older woman move about the kitchen, grinning appreciatively as a plate was placed in front of her, Pam squeezing her shoulder with a warm smile of her own. She was glad to be comfortable in the other woman's presence once again after the awkwardness she had felt weeks prior. She could tell, or at least she hoped, Emily's mother was fond of her. This made her happy, not just because of the obvious benefits for her relationship with Emily, it also felt good to have a motherly figure in her life once again.
"Thank you for looking after Emily last night," Pam said softly, Paige simply shrugging in response. "I'm…I'm surprisingly glad she's with you,"
"I'm glad too," Paige said with a nervous chuckle, not knowing how to interpret 'surprisingly', but hearing the word 'glad' loud and clear all the same.
"And you don't mind staying for a bit?" Pam asked, checking her watch anxiously. She had wanted to take the girls out for breakfast, but explained when they had arrived that she was needed elsewhere later in the morning.
"Course not, my Dad isn't back until tonight," Paige smiled, Pam nodding lightly. "Pam…can I ask you something?"
"Of course you can honey, what is it? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, yeah all fine." Paige said, shifting slightly so she was facing the older woman. "When you went to find my Dad, when I was staying here, what did you say to him? He's so so different I just…what did you say?"
Pam took a seat opposite Paige, before speaking softly. "I just reminded him, that regardless of the things he wanted for you…changing slightly, that you were still his little girl. And that from what I could see, you were still as wonderful as I'd always remembered you being. After your Mother, losing his relationship with you wouldn't do either of you any favours...what you both needed was each other. He was already figuring that out Paige, he just…needed a little push. Why'd you ask?"
"I guess I wanted to thank you," Paige began after nodding in response to Pam's words, "You made sure I stayed put, and brought me here…which got me my Dad, and Emily, so um…thank you,"
"Well you're welcome," Pam chuckled, leaning over to squeeze Paige's hand lightly. "Eat your breakfast honey, I best go get ready." Paige smiled again as Pam walked away, hearing her talking to Emily who was hovering in the doorway.
"My Mom really likes you," Emily smiled as she took her seat next to Paige, tucking into a plate of her own.
"Whats not to like," Paige smirked with a wink before turning her attention back to her eggs.
"Of course," Emily smiled in response. "Do you think your Dad likes me?"
"Yeah, of course he does," Paige said through a mouthful of food, catching the sceptical look Emily gave her. "What? I think I remember him saying you were…a wonderful girl. And that was right after he caught us half-naked, so I think we're good."
"We are aren't we?" Emily smiled, taking Paige's hand and finishing off her breakfast.
"Talk to me," Paige said softly, squeezing Emily's hand. She didn't know whether she should be drawing attention to the fact that Emily had done nothing but stare at the newspaper since her Mother had placed it beside her on the counter that morning as she left. They had been sitting in the living room for an hour since then, Emily looking up from it as if she was going to speak every now and then before seemingly deciding against it.
"What?" Emily asked distractedly, finally noticing that whilst she'd been reading the front page over and over Paige had been watching her intently.
"It's like you want to say something…but then you stop," Paige began, "I don't want to push you…but, you can say anything to me Em, anything."
"I know…" Emily said, finally tearing her eyes from the newspaper to meet Paige's gaze. "Read it. It barely mentions Maya. It makes her seem…it makes her seem like nothing, just some girl who happens to have been…"
"Murdered," Paige said as Emily trailed off, quickly wanting to take the word back now she had spoken it, seeing Emily flinch slightly.
"It's all about him…this…Lyndon. What about her? Who she was, who she left behind…and of course there's all this stuff about Alison and why they haven't..." Emily trailed off once more, before standing and throwing the paper in the trash. "It's been a day and I just want it to be done with already."
"It will be soon enough," Paige said, watching as Emily paced back and forth.
"It's not really the trial its just…the memories," Emily sighed as she plopped back down beside her girlfriend.
"Want to talk about them?" Paige asked as she wrapped an arm around the other girl.
"Not really," Emily said, sinking into the other girls embrace. "Seeing her face everywhere, remembering what happened…it's kind of overwhelming. I think I still haven't entirely dealt with it, or if I ever really can. I know I should talk about it, I'm just…tired."
"I understand," Paige said softly, waiting quietly to see if Emily wanted to continue.
"She had run away, just before she…died," Emily began, Paige shifting back so the two were facing each other. "She had this stupid fight with her parents, they'd caught her doing something she shouldn't have done and they wanted to send her away, so she came to me and asked me to run away with her. When I said no we got into this stupid fight…and I broke up with her. I've never told anyone that. I was scared that maybe, people would think it was my fault." Emily said shaking her head at herself, her voice wavering slightly. "I wanted to take it all back. But then she had left. She wouldn't take my calls...I was so angry with her, for what it did to her parents…and for just bailing on us. For not fighting for us. And then 2 weeks later they found her, and she was never coming back, ever. And I was still so angry. But at myself, because I realised, I was the one that didn't try hard enough. And I'm still angry…because she didn't deserve what happened to her…and maybe it didn't have to happen. Maybe I should have went with her, or tried harder to find her, maybe I should have convinced her to stay instead of giving up on her so easily…"
"Hey," Paige said softly, taking Emily's hand in her own. "It's not your fault, none of it is your fault. And if I know you as well as I think I do, I know you didn't just give up. Maybe she took her time to sort herself out but she came home, and it's not your fault someone took her away before she could find her way back to you. At all, okay?"
"Why are you always so wonderful to me?" Emily asked softly as she scooted closer.
"I'm just returning the favour," Paige smiled, kissing Emily lightly. "In a month or so you'll be graduating, then before you know it, you'll be moving to Penn State. It's a fresh start, away from this place, and all the terrible reminders that come with it."
"You're right. And you might be there too," Emily smiled hopefully.
"Have you heard anything yet?"
"Nothing yet," Paige sighed, she knew it was still early days, but the wait wasn't helping her anxiety.
"You will," Emily said with a smile, Paige smiling softly at the other girls certainty, leaning forward to kiss her gently once again.
Paige heard a soft knock on her door, her Dad popping his head in with a smile. She waved him in with a smile of her own, having missed him returning home late the night before.
"You've got mail," he said with a grin, handing her an envelope, the Penn State logo in plain sight in the top corner. He looked to her expectantly, Paige frowning as she looked at the letter.
"That was quick. It's not a very big envelope," she said, before turning it over and ripping it open. "Miss Mccullers," she began, her face falling as she read on. "It is with real regret that we must inform you that we will not be able to offer you a place this coming fall."
"It's only one school sweetheart," her Dad said after a beat, kissing the top of her head softly. "Their loss. Don't let it get you down."
"It's Emily's school," she said, her Dad shaking his head in response, Paige cutting him off before he got the chance to speak. "I know, I know, I should be focused on the school and not Emily,"
"Regardless of where you go, you won't be too far away, and what's meant to be is meant to be," he smiled with a shrug, Paige managing a faint smile of her own.
"You like Emily right Dad?"
"I do," he said with a small laugh, Paige realising how strange she must be acting. She was bouncing her knee anxiously, watching her Father turning to leave before deciding to speak up. "Dad?" she said, her father turning slightly and motioning for her to continue. "On Saturday…Emily spent the night,"
"What part of no sleepovers didn't you understand?" he said after a moment.
"It wasn't planned, we fell asleep watching a movie and Pam called waking us up, I swear. She asked if Emily could stay here instead of driving home alone, ask her if you don't believe me,"
"I…I do," he said after a moment, leaning against the door frame. "You told me, I guess that's something. Don't let it happen again,"
"It won't," Paige said, trying her best to read the expression on her Dad's face, deciding that he seemed calm enough.
"She was fairly upset I take it?"
"How did you know that?" Paige asked, looking at him in confusion.
"She's in the paper," He said, rummaging through the bundle of post in his hand and flicking open the newspaper for Paige to see. "Terrible business. You never mentioned…all this,"
"I…didn't think I had to. I haven't read it yet either," Paige said walking over to her Fathers side to see sure enough, a small picture of Emily and what she realised now must be Maya.
"Tell her if she needs a break from Rosewood during all this, she's welcome to come here," he said, folding the paper with a yawn before standing up. "But no sleepovers," he said with a wink, Paige shaking her head at his attempt at humour. "It was a one-off, understood? Get dressed, I'll drive you to school."
By Thursday Emily had finally managed to get through a school day without her friends constantly checking up on her, this the first day that week she hadn't wanted to skip, mainly due to the fact Paige had finished her own school day early, and would be waiting for her outside. Emily smiled as she watched Hanna and Aria talking animatedly as they made their way toward the exit. They were excitedly planning the upcoming summer, the last summer they would have together before they went off in different directions; Hanna heading off to New York and Aria staying put in Rosewood to attend Hollis. She shared their excitement to a degree, agreeing with what Paige had said to her earlier in the week. A fresh start. She was leaving Rosewood. Hopefully, with Paige in tow.
"…and my Mom's out of town this Saturday, party at my place," Hanna grinned, Aria agreeing that she'd make it, before the blonde turned to Emily. "You're coming right?"
"I'm not really in the party mood," Emily said apologetically. "I was going to see if Paige maybe wanted to stay in and…"
"Ugh, Em, don't be one of those couples," Hanna said, pointing to Aria slyly.
"Hey!" The shorter girl said in protest. "I said I was coming didn't I?"
"Yeah, but you better not ditch us for Fitz as usual," Hanna said, Aria opening her mouth to argue before sighing and waving her off.
"Bring Paige with you,"
"I'll think about it,"
"Emily," Hanna said pleadingly, the other girl rolling her eyes before giving in.
"Okay, I'll go."
"Yes!" Hanna said clapping her hands with a grin. "Speak of the devil,"
Emily smiled to herself as she looked to where Hanna was pointing, seeing her girlfriend waiting at the bottom of the steps, her eyebrow raising slightly in curiosity to see Spencer engulfing Paige in a hug. She said her goodbyes to her friends before making her way down the steps.
"Hey," she said as she stood alongside them, the hug breaking, Spencer's smile never wavering and Paige looking away slightly with a smile of her own. "Am I missing something?"
"I'll let you tell her," Spencer beamed, saying her goodbyes and making her way towards the parking lot.
"Tell me what?" Emily said turning to Paige, the other girl leaning forward to kiss her chastely before linking their hands together and pulling Emily in the direction of the parking lot.
"I got a letter in the mail today," Paige began, Emily's face lighting up slightly as she realised why Spencer may have been so happy. "I was just thanking Spence for helping me out. I got into Pittsburgh,"
"You did? That's great," Emily said, turning to pull Paige into a quick hug.
"Yeah," Paige said, leaning against the hood of Emily's car as they came to it. "I was starting to think I wouldn't get anywhere, and Pittsburgh's a great school, so I'm pretty pleased."
"Did you hear from Penn State?" Emily asked biting her bottom lip, stomach dropping a little as Paige averted her gaze once again. "Oh,"
"I have," Paige nodded, finally looking up. "I meant to tell you when I got my letter but…well, I didn't get in,"
Emily took a moment to let the news sink in. When she'd first heard Paige had chosen to apply to Penn State, she couldn't deny she had spent a fair amount of time fantasising about the possibilities of them going to college together. "It doesn't matter, like you said, Pittsburgh's a great school. I'm really proud of you,"
"Thanks," Paige said with a smile, not failing to notice the look of disappointment on Emily's face. "And it's only a few hours away from Penn State,"
"That's true," Emily said, managing a small smile, the smile fading once again as her mind flashed back to the last time there had only been a few hours between them, how easily Paige had pulled away. The worry quickly left her mind as she felt Paige's arms around her; a soft kiss to the skin of her neck and the content sigh that escaped her girlfriends lips letting her know that it was ridiculous to worry. She gave Paige one last squeeze before both girls climbed into the car. "Are you busy this weekend?" Emily asked as she drove away.
"Um, I have to go to Baltimore on Saturday, it's my day for Dr Sullivan. I'm free Sunday though,"
"Right," Emily said as Paige reached over to link their fingers together. "Do you think maybe he could drop you off at my place on Saturday night? Hanna's having a party and I don't really want to go alone,"
"I can ask him, but we might get back pretty late,"
"We can ask my Mom if you can stay over?" Emily asked, quickly glancing to Paige, the look in her eyes causing Paige to cave in and nod her head in agreement.
"I'll see what I can do."
"You made it!" Hanna grinned as she opened the door, Paige standing in the doorway clutching her duffel bag. They had driven back from Baltimore fairly late, but after a little negotiating she'd managed to convince her Dad to still drop her off at Hanna's and let her stay with Emily for the night. "Finally, Emily has been moping all night," Hanna sighed, pulling Paige into the house and relieving her of her bag, tossing it somewhat carelessly into the cupboard in the hallway.
Paige followed behind closely as Hanna made her way through the house, the amount of people there larger than she had expected, not recognising anyone in the kitchen, and Emily nowhere in sight. She was about to ask where her girlfriend was, before Hanna shot off in the direction of her living room as somebody shouted what sounded like 'body shots!'
"Hey stranger," she heard from behind her, turning to see Caleb smiling at her, pulling him into a quick hug.
"Hey!" she said with a smile, taking the drink he offered her. "Have you seen Emily?"
"She was headed upstairs last time I saw her. And congratulations by the way, Hanna told me you're Pittsburgh bound,"
"Who'd have thought huh," Paige said with a small smirk, Caleb nodding slightly with a smirk of his own. "I never knew Hanna was this…popular," she said, motioning to the busy kitchen and hallway.
"You know how it goes, one person gets invited, and tells someone else, and someone else…" he began, trailing off as her heard Hanna calling for him from the other room. "Duty calls. I'll catch you in a bit,"
Paige watched as he walked off, taking a small gulp of her drink and quickly scanning the kitchen once more before making her way toward the stairs, dodging a number of not so sober people before finally making it to the top. She made her way down the corridors, peeking in various rooms, making it to the last doorway before turning as she felt someone tap her on the shoulder.
"Hey stranger," she heard once again, this time turning to find Shana smirking at her.
"You never called," the other girl said, Paige's brow furrowing in confusion.
"You told me not to," Paige replied, recalling Shana had made it fairly clear that night at the station that she didn't want to hear from Paige again.
"I was pissed at you for getting me into trouble," Shana shrugged, leaning casually against the door frame. "I figured you'd be long gone by now,"
"Um, I was, kind of…long story," Paige said, giving the corridor another quick glance for any signs of Emily.
"I'm sorry for bailing on you when the cops showed, I like a little trouble but…not that much," Paige took a step back as the other girl took a step forward, Shana raising an eyebrow in offence, before reaching out to run a hand over Paige's upper arm. "You look good Paige,"
"Thanks, uh, you too," Paige said awkwardly, attempting to think of a reason to leave.
"Paige?" she heard from behind her, turning to see Emily emerging from the door she was originally heading towards. Perfect.
"Emily! I've been looking all over for you," Paige said, looking to see the two girls were staring at each other intently. "Uh, this is Shana, we…she gave me a bed when I was y'know, on the lam or whatever,"
"We didn't really make it to the bedroom," Shana winked at Emily, Paige watching Emily's eye's widen.
"Because we got arrested, remember? And I ended up at your place," Paige said quickly, Emily nodding slowly in understanding.
"So she's why you never called me," Shana said smirking again, Paige looking to her in disbelief, seeing the mischievous look on her face. She was enjoying this way too much.
"You told me not to…"
"Chill, I'm just playing with you," Shana laughed, "Nice to meet you Emily," she said before turning and walking off down the corridor. Paige turned to see Emily heading back into the room she'd walked out of, following quickly behind her.
"She seems…interesting," Emily said as she slumped down on to the bed, Paige glancing around what she decided must be Hanna's room.
"I thought so too, for a week or so, then…"
"…you settled for my bed instead?"
"No, she got me arrested, and…well that was kind of a passion killer," Paige smirked, her smile soon fading as she realised Emily wasn't laughing. "Sorry, that was a dumb joke."
"Yeah," Emily said stoically. "You're late,"
"Traffic was bad, I'm sorry," Paige said, slumping down next to Emily on the bed and kissing her cheek lightly. "I've missed you,"
"Yeah," Emily said again, still averting Paige's gaze.
"Why are you sat up here all alone?" Paige asked, cautiously reaching over to take Emily's hands, frowning as Emily shoved them in her jacket pockets before she got the chance.
"I was going to call you, make sure you were still coming." Emily said.
"Of course I was coming…are you mad at me?"
"Paige, no." Emily said, standing abruptly. "Just take me home okay?" Emily asked, finally turning to Paige.
"I just got here…Emily what's wrong?" Paige sighed.
"Paige, I just want to go home."
"Alright, just let me get my stuff," Paige agreed, offering her hand and relaxing slightly as Emily took it. At least that was something.
"I have not missed this thing," Paige grumbled breaking the silence as she tossed and turned, Pam having set up the camp bed in Emily's room for her after they had negotiated her spending the night earlier.
"Please, you slept on it what, once when you were living here?" Emily scoffed, watching as Paige settled on her side so she was facing her. "At least she didn't make you sleep on the couch this time,"
"The couch is comfortable," Paige grumbled once more, Emily simply rolling her eyes. "When I was living here…man that seems like forever ago," Paige said, filling the silence once again, Emily not having said much since they'd returned home. She'd began thinking back to her first night here when she'd first bumped into Shana, the set up in Emily's room only jogging her memory further. The fears she'd had over seeing Emily again as Pam had driven her from the station, the other girl breaking down into to tears because of Paige's offhanded comment about the horrors of the old DiLaurentis place and of course Emily falling asleep in her arms, that night, and every following night. And now here they were. She smiled at the thought. "I'm really glad I got caught breaking into that house,"
"So you can impress all the girls at college with tales of your bad girl cred? Shana sure seemed to like it,"
"Of course, I orchestrated the whole thing so I could sleep with random hotties on campus," Paige responded sarcastically, easily dodging the pillow Emily flung her way. "I'm glad because it landed me on this crummy camp bed, which just so happens to be like 3 feet away from you, you giant doofus. Is that what all this is about? You're jealous? I barely even know Shana,"
"Come here," Emily said shaking her head, tired of watching Paige shuffle around in discomfort.
"Your Mom said…"
"…she said leave to door open. Nothing else. Besides, she went to bed hours ago."
"But if she catches us…"
"Just get over here, okay?" Finding herself unable to argue, Paige slowly lifted herself and quietly made her way over to Emily's bed, climbing in beside her. "I'm sorry about before, I didn't mean to ruin your night. It's not you, or Shana…its just me."
"It's okay. Are you okay? Gonna tell me what's going on in that head of yours?" Paige asked softly, resting her head on Emily's chest. "I know this weeks been…hard."
"Yeah," Emily said truthfully. "I'm okay, honestly. At the party…everyone was just so excited about college and how new everything was going to be…but the whole time I just couldn't stop wishing you were going with me," Emily said sadly, Paige sighing in realisation, watching Emily shift before sitting up and pulling her knees to her chest. Maybe she'd managed to overlook it whilst focusing so much on the trial of Maya's killer, but hearing Paige had accepted an offer to Pittsburgh had left a different kind of sadness settled in Emily's chest.
"Pittsburgh's only a few hours away," Paige said, mirroring Emily's movements so they were sitting side by side. "Two hours twenty-two minutes to be exact, in good traffic. I've already mapped it out."
Emily allowed herself a small smile at that. Of course Paige would map it out. Her smile soon faded as she remembered why she was worrying so much. "What if we break up?"
"Excuse me?" Paige said in disbelief.
"You'll be in Pittsburgh meeting new people, and doing new things and…changing."
"And you'll be at Penn doing the same," Paige said, reaching out to take Emily's hand in her own.
"What if…we grow apart? We change so much that we don't…fit anymore? Or you find someone new or…"
"Do you love me?"
"You don't have to tell me, because I already know you do." Paige said leaning over and brushing the hair away from Emily's face. "I've told you a hundred times, I love you, and that isn't going to change. You are it for me, Emily Fields."
"I believe you. I really do. But I like us, like this, right now. I don't want that to change."
"Change is inevitable Em, it doesn't mean it's going to be a bad thing," Paige said, Emily nodding slightly.
"I know it's inevitable but the last thing I want right now is change. It doesn't scare you? How much could...is going to change? "
"Of course, it's pretty daunting," Paige smiled softly, scooting closer and bumping Emily lightly with her shoulder. "But just think…we'll still have weekends together just like we do right now, and I'll come watch your meets and make a big-ass signs that say something totally lame that only you'll find adorable, and I'll cheer and be totally embarrassing but not embarrassing enough for you to want to leave me. We can drive home together over breaks, and take detours...not bother coming home if we don't want to. We can sleep in the same bed without having to have the goddamn door open. You're gonna go do your thing, and I'll go do mine. And we'll change. Because that's what happens over time, people change. But like I keep telling you…that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I know it's not really all that common for high school sweethearts to stick together throughout college, that only the special ones make it. I know we can make it. Because personally, I think we're pretty damn special."
"Me too," Emily smiled turning to look at Paige, the love and certainty in the other girls eyes reassuring her. She had nothing to worry about, she thought to herself, not when Paige Mccullers was always looking at her like that. "Thank you, you always know what to say."
"Are you okay now?"
"Feeling a little stupid for missing so much of the party sulking," Emily said honestly, Paige giving a small shrug as much to say it wasn't a big deal.
"We've got all summer for parties Em,"
"You're right," Emily said smiling, resting her head on Paige's shoulder. "I love you, I really do."
"We're really lucky, you know that?" Paige said as she glanced once more at the abandoned camp bed and smiled. Thank god for that damn camp bed, and everything one night on it all those months ago had led her to. She tentatively wrapped her arm around Emily, kissing her cheek softly before breaking out into a grin. "I think things have worked out…they've worked out pretty well. Don't you agree?"
Sorry it took so long to update, and that it was pretty short. Hope you enjoyed. I'm kind of ending this story here for now, so I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has read/reviewed/favourited/followed/PM'd...all the feedback, I'm eternally grateful :)