I've decided to write a McHastings fic! :D
The chapters are going to be short and the story will be less than six chapters spanning a few weeks of summer vacation. Here is the set up... I hope you guys like it!
Spencer drove up to the cabin over an hour after the start of Noel Kahn's party. Although she felt dismayed that she'd have to park three blocks away, the idea of showing up alone and on time to a Rosewood high reunion party was more unappealing than a hike through the woods in heels. She slammed her door closed in a huff, her mood already sour. She thought Hannah, or at least Aria would come home this summer. But they'd left her. Emily was on another Habitat trip, Hannah was "glamming" around New York City with her new best friends, and Aria was studying literature in Ireland with Ezra Fitz. Spencer thought with a shudder about all the wonderful adventures she'd have to hear them recap later.
She'd resigned herself to a quiet entrance when a movement caught the corner of her eye. She looked over to see Paige McCullers sitting in an excessively convenient parking spot. Her keys were still in the ignition. The girl was staring despondently out the window like a psychopath. Spencer decided to check it out.
Paige was trying to remember why she'd come to Noel Kahn's party. When she started publicly dating the popular and beautiful Emily Fields she was placed on some magical email and text list that meant that she still got regular invitations to "important" Rosewood gatherings. She'd never taken herself off that list, nor had she blocked Noel's number... but, she also never in a million years intended to be in Rosewood and actually go to one of these parties. Paige's idea of a successful trip home was: Hi mom. Love you. Here is your Christmas present. Bye!
Paige was here because it was better than being home. She was now rethinking that logic. A coffee shop would have made a lot more sense. Even going to the dentist would make more sense, fun-wise, than being here. What was really bothering Paige wasn't the cabin. It was the fact that she was should have been in Silicon Valley instead.
She was supposed to be fetching lattes for pretentious graphic designers who had their butts in ergonomic chairs. She'd gotten a fairytale internship. Paige applied after spending a year actually feeling like she'd earned the right to go to Stanford. She was shocked when she was accepted.
And she had been the one turning them down.
Paige was jolted out of her daze by a tapping on her window. Paige squinted out to see Spencer Hastings. Oh God, Paige thought in a slight panic.
Spencer wasn't sure why she'd tapped on Paige's window. It was probably a pathetic pack instinct; her not wanting to enter this party alone. She regretted it instantly because now she was stuck looking in at Paige, who was just sitting there. Was that fear? Spencer thought, shaking it off when Paige's expression became a polite smile. Paige seemed to be looking around her car for an excuse for why she'd been sitting idle, as Spencer could deduce, for at least an hour. Paige finally opened the damn door and stepped out.
"Spencer, wow!" Paige said, moving uncertainly from foot to foot before leaning in and embracing the girl. "I wasn't expecting to see you," Paige continued, realizing that, for all she knew, Spencer was always at these parties and she'd just showed her hand as vulnerable non-party goer. Paige knew that was ridiculous, but she'd had too many bad experiences with Spencer to let her guard down.
Awkwardness aside, Paige's hug was warm and appealing. Spencer couldn't remember the last time anyone, even a member of her family, had actually touched her. Her body stiffened under it. She held a breath that she released only after Paige stopped holding her. Spencer had to remind herself that she was in control. Paige is obviously more out of place than I am, Spencer told herself. She reached a hand hand out to reassuringly rest it on Paige's elbow. "Did you just get here?" Spencer asked as an uncharacteristically generous icebreaker. Spencer wondered if Paige had been home last summer as well. She couldn't remember seeing her. Then again, Paige tends to lurk, Spencer thought.
Paige chuckled. "Yeah," she lied, "I was just fixing my make up." Spencer could tell that the girl wasn't wearing much more than eyeliner. Since when did Paige look that good in just eyeliner? A part of Spencer wondered. Another part desperately wanted to call her out on her lie, but Spencer reminded herself to be kind.
"It is good to see you here," Spencer responded. It was pleasant, although not at all surprising to see Paige home. Probably still hung up on Emily and waiting to be taken back, Spencer thought.
"You too, Spence," Paige smiled, immediately choking on her use of the nickname. She'd heard Emily use it so often that it just slipped out. Paige looked over, hoping Spencer hadn't caught it. She had to be home all summer, she didn't need to make it worse for herself by having Spencer Hastings as an enemy.
"Thanks!" Spencer responded, a bit too enthusiastically to be authentic. "UPenn is going great. Toby and I are still together. I'm just in town this summer with an internship with Skeeter and Johnson," Spencer explained before realizing that a) The girl hadn't asked and b) the words came out a little too rehearsed. She was glad it was just Paige.
"Neat," Paige said with a nod. Spencer was annoyed that the girl didn't seem to be actually listening. Spencer didn't bother asking about Paige's life after that. Besides, they only had a ten feet before knocking twice and entering the party.
The girls both experience a queazy mix of nostalgia and apprehension when they opened the door to the party. Familiar faces were just a little friendlier, a little drunker than they remembered them. Spencer could have made a crayon that was Noel Kahn's Cabin gold, she knew that lighting so well. And the smell. The smell was atrocious, but even Paige felt a tug of gratefulness for that old wooded vodka muskiness. Paige looked over at Spencer with a smirk. It made Spencer's stomach flutter. Camaraderie, Spencer labelled it.
They were greeted by cheers, "Spencer Hastings!" a drunken Noel announced. People were happy. People were surprised. "And Paige Mc-" he seemed to lose his footing, and his train of thought, "Mc-Something!" A few people remembered her being on the swim team.
Noel walked up and shook Spencer's hand. He was putting aside all differences tonight. That was his goal. The world was small and kind, even for this heinous bitch! He grinned like a madman. That is how wasted Noel was for his first party of the summer.
Paige slipped away. She needed to find swimmers. And a very very strong drink.
Paige finally spotted a group of recognizable faces. She lingered at the drink table plotting her approach. Paige never had really close friends. And she started ignoring the ones she had around the time she started officially dating Emily Fields. They were nice people, too. They were kind when she came out, supportive when she started dating a competitor. Her team. 'Were' is the key word, Paige thought. She had opted to replace their kindness with threatening text messages, their goofy gossip with kidnappings. She'd spent most of her time Emily's friends, people who never even liked Paige. It made Paige grumpy, even though she was sure she'd do it again if given the choice. Paige was a sucker for Emily Fields.
Paige decided to walk up to them. Worst thing that could happen would be outright rejection, and Paige had grown numb to that. She eased to the edge of the conversation.
"Paige? Paige McCullers!?" a redhead named Kim exclaimed. Paige smiled and nodded. The other girls gave little cheers of approval and pulled her into their circle.
A few hours later, Paige was a talkative brand of buzzed and surprisingly happy to boot. The cabin was warm and friendly. There was a group singing Bon Jovi in a corner. It was a cabin party lost in time, Paige thought, willing to bet the same thing happened at Noel's older brother's parties and maybe even their parents' reunions. Man, this isn't bad at all, She thought, wandering aimlessly through the crowd of jeans and plaid and hugs. Her smile dropped when she found Spencer again. The girl was beyond drunk, her hand moving up and down Noel Kahn's side. She was giggling at his joke. Paige was certain that Spencer did not giggle.
"This isn't my problem," Paige muttered to herself, biting her lip, trying not to think about it. But Paige kept staring at them and before she knew it she was glaring at Noel. And then Noel leaned over to smell Spencer's hair. "Fuck," Paige said aloud.
That is how Paige, once again, found herself ready to throw it all away to save a pretty girl she despised.