Title: Don’t Forget About Your Past
Author: Ry Rain
Fandom: South of Nowhere
Pairings: Ashley/Spencer (established)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Disclaimer: Although I wish I did, I don’t own any of the characters from the show … The N does … any original characters … they are all mine.
Ashley and Spencer walked along the beach. School was out for Spring Break and the two of them were just enjoying each other’s company. It was a nice, sunny day and everyone was on the beach. It seemed like half of King High’s students were lounging in the sand. The two girls did not even notice the crowd. Ashley and Spencer were lost in their own world. It had been two months since that fateful night when the two of them finally accepted their feelings for each other and became a couple. Everything was going great for them, as long as Spencer’s mom did not find out about their relationship.
“I’m so glad my mother finally gave up on trying to keep me away from you.” Ashley just smiled and grabbed Spencer’s hand. “Not that she ever actually stopped me in the first place.” Ashley nodded and they walked hand in hand. “Are you okay? You haven’t said much today.”
“Just thinking.” Spencer looked over at Ashley and crooked an eyebrow. “I do think sometimes thank you very much.” Chuckling, Spencer stopped and turned to face Ashley. “What are you doing?”
“Something is going on in that pretty little head of yours.” Ashley blushed a little and tried to look away but Spencer would not let her, softly using her hand to force Ashley to look at her. “I know there is something you want to talk about. That’s what I’m here for.” Ashley smiled again and walked toward a picnic table, knowing Spencer would follow her. “Ash, come on. What’s up?”
“Things are going great between us, right?” Spencer nodded and smiled at Ashley. “Do you think it’s going too good?’ Spencer’s face contorted with confusion. “The past two months have been perfect. I’m just scared that something is going to happen. Something bad.”
Spencer looked at Ashley. “Like what?” Ashley just shrugged and looked out at the ocean. “Well, whatever happens, if anything, we’ll get through it, together.” Spencer grabbed Ashley’s hand and laced their fingers together. “We’ll survive anything this world has to throw at us. We survived everything before we got together.” Ashley nodded at that. “Let’s go get some ice cream.” Ashley jumped up and started dragging a giggling Spencer toward an ice cream cart.
Aiden sat in the airport waiting for his plane to Cancun to arrive. Madison was in the bathroom, probably redoing her make-up, yet again. He looked at his watch and sighed. The plane was two hours late because of a freak snowstorm in Ohio. Most of the teenagers waiting at the gate were so excited that the delay was not bothering them. Those people were not waiting with Madison, who had spent the last two hours complaining.
Finally a voice came over the intercom with an update. “Flight 576 to Cancun has landed and boarding will start in a half hour after we have refueled the plane. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for being patient.”
Everyone at the gate started cheering as the plane unloaded. Aiden looked over, just incase there was a celebrity filing off the plane but all he saw was a familiar face wearing a King High soccer hoodie. “Oh my god.” Just then Madison arrived and saw Aiden digging in his bag. “I have to make a phone call.”
“Okay.” Madison looked over at the people who had just arrived and squinted her eyes to get a good look at someone, the same someone Aiden was freaking out about. “Is that …?”
Aiden was not paying any attention to Madison as he waited for someone to answer.
Ashley and Spencer sat back down at the picnic table and continued to eat their ice cream. Spencer was talking about what she normally did for Spring Break. “My grandparent’s house was always cool. It was one of those old Victorians. You know, the kind that always has secret passages in the movies. My brothers and I searched that house, top to bottom looking for any kind of secret door or entrance.”
“Never found one, huh?” Spencer sadly shook her head but smiled as she noticed ice cream on Ashley’s nose. “What are you smiling at?” Spencer pointed at Ashley’s nose but before she had time to wipe it off, Spencer leaned forward and kissed her nose, licking the ice cream off as she sat back. “Spence?”
“Always wanted to do that.” The two girls smiled at each other. They sat in comfortable silence until a familiar ring tone started playing. “Why does he always have to ruin our moments?”
Ashley chuckled as she picked up the phone, knowing Aiden would not call unless something was important. She had told him not to. “Hello?”
Back at the airport, Aiden was hiding in a corner, not wanting the familiar girl to see him. “Ashley, she’s back.”
Ashley stood still, holding her phone to her ear, not responding. She knew who Aiden was talking about. Spencer looked at her girlfriend as she saw a whole spectrum of emotions wash across Ashley’s face. “Are you sure?” Spencer really wished she could hear what Aiden was saying, but Ashley had started pacing. “Where?” Ashley nodded and stopped pacing but was too far away for Spencer to hear her.
Spencer watched as Ashley ran her hand through her hair. Ashley was frustrated, that was evident. She knew Ashley’s bad feeling had been right. All Spencer could hope was she was right as well. When Spencer saw Ashley hang up, she slowly walked toward her girlfriend. Wrapping her arms around Ashley’s waist, Spencer tried to comfort the distraught girl. “You alright hun?”
Ashley shook her head and turned to face Spencer. “Someone from my past is back in town.”
Spencer nodded. “Maggie?” Ashley’s brow furrowed and she shook her head ‘no’. “Who?” Ashley shook her head again and then moved from Spencer’s embrace, wrapping her arms around herself as though trying to shield her body from something. “Ash, what’s wrong?”
“I’m not happy about what I have done in the past Spence. This person is one of the reasons why.” Spencer nodded, somewhat understanding where Ashley was coming from. “What time is it? You have that doctor’s appointment today, right?”
“Yeah.” Spencer looked at her watch and freaked out a little. “Damn, I have to go now or I’m going to be late. Call you afterwards?” Ashley nodded and Spencer tenderly kissed her on the cheek. “See ya later babe.”
Ashley watched Spencer head toward her car. It was only the first day of Spring Break and already something horrible had happened. Ashley had no idea what she was going to do. She thought she would never see the girl again. She sighed as a single name slipped over her tongue and through a breath, “Jack.”
Spencer sighed as she climbed into her car and started the ignition. She looked down the beach to where Ashley was still standing. She knew that Ashley would eventually let her in what was going on but when that would happen, Spencer had no idea. Backing out of the parking spot, Spencer felt like she was betraying Ashley, but what could she do if Ashley would not tell her what she was thinking. Spencer wasn’t a mind reader. Now she had a meeting with a therapist to look forward.
A half hour later, Spencer walked into the therapist’s office. Paula was behind, and was not a happy camper. They were already five minutes late. The receptionist looked at Spencer and saw that she really did not want to be here. “Don’t worry about being late Mrs. Carlin. Mrs. Huddleston has been running late. She has a patient right now but should only be a few more minutes.”
“Thank you.” The receptionist nodded and smiled at Spencer. Spencer gave a weak smile back and followed her mother over to some chairs. “Well, I guess we’re lucky that she’s been running late all day, otherwise we would have some explaining to do.” Spencer just rolled her eyes and picked up a magazine. “That girl on the cover looks a lot like Lauren.” Spencer looked at the cover and nodded. The girl did look a lot like her best friend back in Ohio. “Have you talked to her recently?”
“No. Her family went to the Caribbean for Spring Break.”
“Is she still dating that one guy?” Spencer turned to her mother and made an unbelieving face. “What, I thought she was going out with a guy last time you told me. What’s her girlfriend’s name then?”
“Her girlfriend and her broke up back before we even moved here. They were still friends though.” Paula nodded and picked up her own magazine. “How come you are okay with Lauren being gay but not Ashley?”
Paula sighed. “I don’t dislike Ashley because she’s gay.” Spencer looked at her mother pointedly. “Okay, yes that does have a little to do with it, but it’s not all. She’s very bold and somewhat vulgar.”
“Mom, you haven’t even given her chance. Have you ever tried to get to know her? Her vulgarity and boldness is a defense mechanism.” Spencer slammed back in her chair and violently turned the pages of the magazine, almost tearing them. When she felt the receptionist looking at her, she calmed down a bit. There was no reason getting her mother even angrier.
“Thanks doc. It was good seeing you again.”
“Anytime. If I have an open appointment, you fill it. Alright?” Spencer looked up and saw a girl nod at what the doctor was saying. She quickly looked back at her magazine when the therapist looked at her. “Well, you should get going home now. I’m sure you are tired.”
“Definitely. I’ll call tomorrow to make another appointment.” The doctor nodded and the girl turned around. Upon seeing Spencer, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “Spence?”
Spencer looked up and saw Lauren’s ex-girlfriend. “Well, talk about the devil. What are you doing here?”
“My dad got transferred back here. Lauren told me you moved to L.A. but I didn’t believe her.” Spencer got up and hugged the girl. “How are things?”
“They are alright I guess. Same old, same old, ya know?” The girl nodded and turned to Paula, who was glaring at her. Self-consciously she smoothed back her short spiky hair. “Oh, mom. This is Lauren’s ex-girlfriend, Jack."
Ashley sat in her parked car, staring at the familiar building. It had been a long time since she had even been in this apartment complex, since before Jack had even left L.A., before IT had happened. She thought about what Aiden had told her and wondered how Jack had ended up in Ohio and when. She hoped Spencer hadn’t heard any stories. She didn’t want Spencer putting two and two together.
Ashley had been parked there for two hours. Jack should have been home by now. Unless she wasn’t going to move back in. Ashley knew the place was still in Jack’s dad’s name and she also knew there was still furniture inside. She had looked through a window when she first arrived. The only thing missing was Jack’s Mustang. Ashley smiled a little as she remembered riding in that car. Jack treated it like her baby but wasn’t one of those people who make others take their shoes off before getting inside. It was definitely a beauty though.
Ashley ran her hand along the side of Jack’s car. “Wow Jack. This car is … amazing.” Jack smiled as she opened the passenger door for Ashley. “Suicide doors? Damn.” Ashley climbed in and looked at the black leather interior. The dash was black with chrome instruments. “This car is a beauty.”
“Thanks.” Jack climbed into the driver’s side. “This car is my baby. She used to be the only thing I had to live for.” Jack looked over at Ashley and winked. Ashley blushed as Jack started the car and they were off.
Shaking her head, Ashley put her car into drive and left. It was ridiculous, waiting out there for Jack. It’s not like Jack would want to talk to her or anything. Picking up her phone, Ashley dialed Spencer’s number. She frowned as the voice mail came up. She thought Spencer would be home by now. Hanging up without leaving a message, Ashley drove through the exit gate and onto the main road.
Jack got out of her car, hidden by a bush, and watched sadly as Ashley drove off. She knew they would run into each other sooner or later. King High wasn’t that big a school and Spring Break only lasted a week. Sighing, Jack grabbed the empty boxes out of her trunk and threw them in the dumpster. Thinking back to the airport, she shook her head, she should have known Aiden had recognized her.
Spencer smiled as she walked into her house. The therapist had been nice enough but luckily Paula had not liked seeing Jack coming out of her office so no future appointments were made. Realizing she hadn’t heard from Ashley since she had left the beach, Spencer pulled her phone out of her purse and looked at the screen. Ashley had called while she was getting coffee with Jack.
“Hey Honey.” Spencer looked up at her dad and smiled. “The appointment wasn’t too bad was it?”
“Nah. She was nice enough but Mom didn’t make another appointment.” Arthur looked at her. “You remember Lauren’s girlfriend Jack?” Arthur nodded. “Well, her dad got transferred back here and I guess she went to Dr. Huddleston before they moved to Ohio. Mom didn’t like seeing her. Jack cut her hair really short.”
“Ah.” Arthur understood what Spencer was hinting at. “How’s Ashley?”
“She’s good. I have to call her though. She called when I had my phone on silent. Do you want me to stay for dinner tonight?”
“Only if you want to. You can invite Ashley if you do.” Spencer nodded and ran up the stairs. “Let me know what you decide!”
Spencer laid on her bed before pushing the first speed dial button that Ashley had been promoted to the same night of their first kiss. Holding the phone with her shoulder, she unbuttoned her outer blouse and then shrugged it off.
Spencer smiled at the sound of her girlfriend’s voice. “Hey babe. Sorry I didn’t answer when you called me. Phone was on silent.”
<No problem. Was just calling to see if you wanted to get together tonight. Go to a bonfire on the beach?> Spencer frowned and sat up. It was Spring Break and she knew the people who usually started the bonfires were all out of town. <It’ll be just you and me.>
Spencer smiled at that. “I don’t know if I trust you with a giant fire,” she said, chuckling as Ashley scoffed. “How about we just lounge in front of the fireplace at you place? I don’t feel like going to the beach tonight. Too many tourists will be there.”
<Okay, I’ll be there in about an hour to pick you up. See you then?>
“Yep, I’ll be ready and waiting.”
<Cool. Bye babe.>
“Bye.” Spencer flipped her phone closed and laid back on her bed. Today was turning out to be a great day.
Jack sat in her apartment, alone. Holding her cell phone, she was having an internal debate about whether she should call Ashley or not, but she knew she shouldn’t. Looking down at the screen, Jack realized she had scrolled down to Spencer’s phone number. She smiled, knowing she would have at least one friend when she returned to King High. But boy, was she dreading that day.
Ashley and Spencer watched as the fire slowly burned down. They had been lying on the couch in front of it for a couple hours; take out Chinese cartons strewn on the floor around them. Ashley’s arms were wrapped around Spencer’s waist, holder her close. Spencer sighed contently and snuggled even closer. “I could stay like this forever.”
“Me too but this isn’t the softest couch. Want to move this to my room?” Spencer turned around and looked at Ashley. “I only mean so we could be more comfortable Spencer. You know, lounging on the bed, snuggling, maybe a little making out.” Spencer rolled her eyes as she stood up. “Heading upstairs?” Spencer looked down at Ashley and smirked then took off toward the stairs. “Hey! Wait up!”
Spencer stopped just inside Ashley’s room and hid behind the door. Silently chuckling as she saw Ashley looking around the room. Spencer thanked God Ashley didn’t have a mirror across from the door. Ashley stood at the end of the bed and tried to figure out where Spencer was. Spencer grinned then ran up to Ashley and tackled her to the bed. “Hey babe.”
Ashley turned around under Spencer’s weight and smiled at the girl who had stolen her heart. “Hey.” Ashley ran her hands up Spencer’s legs and rested them on her thighs. “That was a mean thing to do Spencer.” Spencer just smirked and squirmed a little bit, causing Ashley to shudder. “Okay, that’s nicer.”
Chuckling, Spencer leaned forward, her hair falling in front of her face, creating a curtain. She kissed Ashley, putting as much desire for her as she could into the kiss. Pulling back and looking deep into Ashley’s eyes, taking a deep breath, Spencer softly kissed her once more and said, “I love you Ashley Davies.”
Ashley’s eyes opened wide with shock but then she smiled and pulled Spencer into another long, searing kiss. “I love you too Spencer Carlin.” Ashley brought her hands to the hem of Spencer’s shirt, tugging a little. “May I?” Spencer took another deep breath and nodded, lifting her arms up to allow Ashley to pull the tank top up over her head. Spencer smirked as Ashley worked to get over the realization that Spencer had not been wearing a bra. “You’re beautiful.”
Spencer blushed but fought the urge to cover herself up as Ashley’s eyes roamed her torso. “Are you just going to spend the entire night staring at me or are you going to do something?”
Ashley smirked, flipping the two of them over and then pulled off her own tank top. For once though, Ashley hadn’t been as bold as Spencer. She grinned and reached back to undo her bra clasp but Spencer stopped her, removing it herself. “Is that better?”
Spencer didn’t say anything. Pulling Ashley down, Spencer kissed her. The girls gasped at the first feeling of skin to skin contact. Ashley’s hands started wondering, touching and caressing every inch of exposed skin. When her fingers brushed against Spencer’s nipples, they immediately hardened and Spencer moaned. “Ashley …”
“Do you want me to stop?” Spencer shook her head and her hands roamed down to Ashley’s jeans. She slowly undid every button, smirking at Ashley as each one was released. Sliding her hands down the back of Ashley’s jeans, Spencer squeezed the skin through the material. “God Spence, when did you turn into such a vixen?”
“When I met you.”
Ashley glared at Specner and nipped at her lower lip. “Smart ass.”
“You love it. Now get those jeans off!”
“Bossy.” It was Spencer’s turn to glare this time. “Okay, you asked for it Spence.” Ashley got up and slowly started pulling her jeans down. Spencer’s eyes dilated at the sight of Ashley’s hair falling in front of her face. “You like?” Spencer nodded as Ashley finally stepped out of her jeans. Walking to the edge of the bed Ashley looked at Spencer, “Your turn.” Spencer shook her head. “Well, I’ll just have to do it for you.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.” Spencer watched as Ashley crawled up the length of her lower body, stopping just at the waist of her jeans. She quickly undid the button and pulled down the zipper. “You’re driving me crazy Ash.” Ashley smirked as she hooked her thumbs through the belt loops of Spencer’s jeans and slowly pulled them off. She moved back so she could kiss Spencer. The two of them kissed for what seemed to be hours, their hands roaming. Ashley’s hands slipped below Spencer’s waist and she gasped.
“Spence, you alright?”
Spencer nodded. “Please, I need to feel you inside me.” Ashley nodded and crossed the final threshold, sliding one finger in than another. Spencer moaned and closed her eyes.
Ashley stopped and looked down at Spencer, her eyes full of concern. “Are you okay?” Spencer opened her eyes and nodded. “If you want to stop, just tell me.” Spencer looked deep into Ashley’s eyes, causing her to drown in their depths. Ashley slowly started thrusting in and out, her thumb circling Spencer’s clit.
Spencer’s hips bucked as she got closer to the edge. Sweat was collecting on her forehead. She had never felt anything like this before. Ashley smiled down at her and Spencer smiled back until her muscles started tightening. She closed her eyes as the orgasm hit her, moaning the only name in her mind. “Ashley.”
“You okay Spencer?” Spencer nodded and flipped Ashley over. “You don’t have to do this.”
Spencer looked down at Ashley. “But I want to.” With that, Spencer kissed Ashley and began her slow torture.
It's so incredible the way things work themselves out
And unemotional once you know what it's all about
And undesirable for us to be apart
I never would have made it very far
'Cause you know you hold the keys to me heart 'cause
Ashley stretched as she woke up, carefully popping ever vertebra in her back. She smiled until she realized she was alone in the bed. Sitting up, a look of pain flashed across her face. Dropping her head in her hands, Ashley couldn’t believe that she had screwed things up with Spencer already.
“Ash, what’s wrong?” Ashley looked up and saw Spencer standing at the doorway to her bathroom, a sheet wrapped around her body. “Ashley?” Ashley smiled and jumped up, running toward Spencer. She practically tackled Spencer when she made it up to her. “Are you okay Ash?”
“I thought you had left.” Ashley looked at Spencer, tears forming in her eyes.
“Why would I have done that?” Ashley shrugged as she hugged Spencer as close as possible. “Babe, I’m not going to leave you.” Spencer led Ashley back to the bed and they both sat down. “Thank you by the way.”
Ashley looked at Spencer, her eyebrows scrunched together, trying to remember what she had done to deserve a thank you. “For what?”
“Giving me a new first time.” Ashley blushed and looked down at the floor. “It was wonderful and I actually enjoyed it. It was fun.” Ashley looked up and wiggled her eyebrows. “I walked right into that.” Ashley just chuckled and fell back onto her bed. Spencer turned to the side and looked at Ashley. “I hope your wish from the documentary came true as well, I mean, I think it did.”
“I’m glad, you’re welcome, and it did.” Spencer chuckled and laid next to Ashley. “Man, I’m still tired. Who knew a rookie like you would tire ME out.” Spencer lightly smacked Ashley’s exposed stomach. “What? That’s a compliment Babe.” Spencer rolled her eyes and snuggled up against Ashley, throwing an arm across her waist. “Let’s go back to sleep.” Spencer nodded and the two girls quickly fell asleep.
Jack sat at her computer, looking at the message in her inbox. The screen name hadn’t changed, even after an hour of praying that it would. She didn’t want to open the message but something about it was nagging her. The subject read “Please Read Before Monday.” It was only Tuesday and the message had been sent the night before. She sighed and clicked on the message.
That was all the message said but it packed a punch. Jack had lost her breath as though someone had socked her right in the stomach. The room was spinning as she tried to process the one word. Jack could not decide whether she was going to accept the apology or if the person even realized what they were apologizing for. Shaking her head, Jack closed the window and just sat staring at the screen. Instant messenger was open but Jack wasn’t in a mood to talk to anyone so she was invisible. She sighed and left the room.
Aiden grinned as he and Madison walked out of their hotel and onto the beach. The sun was shining even brighter than in L.A. The sky was completely clear, not a cloud for miles. “Man, there are some hotties on this beach today!” Madison glared at him but Aiden didn’t care. Looking around, he spotted a volleyball game that appeared to have just started, and the teams weren’t even. “I’m gonna see if I can join that volleyball game.”
“Aiden,” Madison said, trying to get him to stop, but he just ignored her. “This was a great idea.” Laying a towel down, Madison looked around, checking out some of the hotties herself. She smirked as she laid down to sunbathe. People were looking at her, which was nothing new and definitely wanted. Madison put her sunglasses and headphones on then relaxed in the sun.
The house was quiet when Spencer walked in. She shook her head, hating that this was normal now. Glen was at rehab, Clay at the café down the street waiting for him. Glen was supposed to come home today. Her father was most likely at work and her mom, well, she was either at work or with HIM. Spencer hated Ben but would have to get use to the fact that her parent’s weren’t together anymore. Trudging up the stairs, Spencer threw her stuff on her bed and sat at her computer. Signing into Yahoo! Messenger, Spencer looked at a picture of her and Ashley on the beach. She jumped a little at the sound of a message but chuckled when she saw who it was.
<rockergrrl>: Hey Babe.
<Ohio_qte>: Hey. Are you on your cell phone or something?”
<rockergrrl>: Yep. I just couldn’t wait to get home
<Ohio_qte>: *rolls eyes*
<rockergrrl>: luv ya
<Ohio_qte>: love you too Ash. pay attention to the road and call me when you get home
<rockergrrl>: *sighs* fine, later. *kisses*
<Ohio_qte>: *kisses back* later
Spencer had to let herself laugh as Ashley signed off. “Now, to add Jack to my buddy list,” she said to herself as she pulled out a piece of paper from her back pocket. “Jack_Attack? I wonder where she got that from.” Spencer added Jack to her buddy list and looked at the little icon meaning she had to wait for approval. Spencer blinked as the icon went away.
<Ohio_qte>: Offline my ass. Why you invisible?
< Jack_Attack>: Damn, was hoping you wouldn’t notice, not that I mind, I’m willing to talk to you.
<Ohio_qte>: Wow, I feel real special. How are ya?
<Jack_Attack>: *shrug* okay I guess, just bored. Don’t know too many people around here anymore andmy dad is on a business trip … although he brought my stepmother with him
<Ohio_qte>: that sucks I’m sorry, we should get together and watch a movie or something
<Jack_Attack>: you don’t already have plans?
<Ohio_qte>: Nope, dad wants me to stay in tonight you should come over
Spencer looked at the clock and saw that it was already 6:00pm. She waited for Jack to respond. Glen was coming home tonight and Spencer was not prepared. Ashley had a gig at Gray but Arthur thought everyone should stay home and have some quality family time. Like that was going to happen.
< Jack_Attack>: Thanks but no thanks. I need to finish unpacking. Besides, isn’t Glen supposed to be coming home from rehab today?
<Ohio_qte>: Yeah that’s why dad wants us home
< Jack_Attack>: Spend the time with your family while you still got them
<Ohio_qte>: *rolls eyes* you would always get philosophical online when I chatted with you on lauren’s SN
Jack chuckled as she read Spencer’s response. It was the truth. If she was online chatting then she was bored and tired. Jack being bored and tired always led to philosophical thoughts.
< Jack_Attack>: Bye Spencer
<Ohio_qte>: Bye bye Jack.
Jack stared at the screen and waited for Spencer to sign off. Just then she saw someone else sign on and she quickly signed off. There were enough messages from that name in her inbox. Jack sighed and ruffled her hair. It was only five past six and she was already for bed. Yawning, Jack grabbed her keys and jacket then walked out the door.
Ashley sat in the small dressing room at Gray, fixing her hair and make up. She felt the butterflies flying around in her stomach. Her dad had actually made it this time and was waiting in the audience, waiting to watch her get up on stage and sing at the top of her lungs. This wasn’t a little intimate duet with a few people watching. The club was packed tonight.
She picked up her phone and sent Spencer a text. Ashley really wished her girlfriend could be there and meet her father but she understood why Arthur would want her to stay home with Glen coming home and all. Sighing, Ashley stood up and walked out to get on stage.
Jack watched Ashley walk across the floor like she owned the place. Luckily, nobody recognized her, except Danger Davies. He had seen her as soon as she walked into the club, waving and nodding to let her know he wouldn’t say anything to Ashley. She felt weird sulking in the darkest corner of the club, willing no one to see her. Suddenly the crowd started clapping and Jack realized that Ashley had walking on the stage. She did own the place.
“Hi everyone. Umm, this first song is dedicated to an old friend of mine and I know she isn’t here, but I wanted to do this anyway.” Ashley took a deep breath and brought her guitar strap over her head. “She was my best friend and, I would do anything for us to be the same again.”
Tell me what I have to do tonight
'Cause I'd do anything to make it right
Let's be us again
Jack blinked as she realized what the first song of Ashley’s set was.
I'm sorry for the way I lost my head
I don't know why I said the things I said
Let's be us again
Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us again
Oh us again
Look at me, I'm way past pride
Isn't there some way that we can try
To be us again
Even if it takes a while
I'll wait right here until I see that smile
That says we're us again
Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us
As the first chorus ended, Spencer walked into the club.
Baby baby what would I do
I can't imagine life without you
Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Jack slowly started heading toward the door.
Oh, here I am
I'm reaching out for you
So won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us again
Oh let's be us again
As the song ended, Ashley happened to look toward the door and made eye contact with Jack. Jack shook her head and quickly ran out the door. Ashley wanted to follow her but knew she couldn’t, shouldn’t. She had to finish her set. Turning back to the audience, she smiled. “My next song is dedicated to someone who has stolen my heart, without me even noticing it.”
It's undeniable, that we should be together
It's unbelievable, how I used to say that I'd fall never
It's basis you need to know you know just how I feel
And let me show you now that I'm for real
If all things in time, time will reveal
Spencer walked closer to the front of the stage, smiling. It was important that Ashley spotted her. The first time she looked up, the two of them locked eyes. Ashley’s voice cracked with emotion, but it only added to the intensity of her rendition of the song.
One: you're like a dream come true
Two: just wanna be with you
Three: girl, it's plain to see that you're the only one for me and
Four: repeat steps 1 thru 3
Five: make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I start back at one
It's so incredible the way things work themselves out
And unemotional once you know what it's all about
And undesirable for us to be apart
I never would have made it very far
'Cause you know you hold the keys to me heart 'cause
One: you're like a dream come true
Two: just wanna be with you
Three: girl, it's plain to see that you're the only one for me and
Four: repeat steps 1 thru 3
Five: make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I start back at one
Ashley hoped Spencer remembered the song. Waking up that morning to this song had made it her all-time favorite, even if it was country. She watched Spencer’s eyes and saw the exact moment when Spencer realized what the song was. She smiled and shook her head.
Say farewell to the darkened night
I see the coming of the sun
I feel like a little child whose life has just begun
You came and breathed new life
Into this lonely heart of mine
You threw out the lifeline just in the nick of time
One: you're like a dream come true
Two: just wanna be with you
Three: girl, it's plain to see that you're the only one for me and
Four: repeat steps 1 thru 3
Five: make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I start back at one
Two: just wanna be with you
Three: girl, it's plain to see that you're the only one for me and
Four: repeat steps 1 thru 3
Five: make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I start back at one
The audience clapped as Ashley finished the song. She grabbed a stool from the side and brought it to the center, sitting down. “Aright everyone, I have one more dedication to do and then it’ll get a little faster.” She started strumming idly. “This next song is for my father who has never given up on me and has always been there when I really need him.”
Two hours later Ashley wrapped up the end of her set. The audience was going wild and she was beaming. Everyone who mattered had been there. Spencer was waiting for her at the bar. She was sitting next to Danger and looked nervous. Ashley came up behind her and loosely wrapped her arms around Spencer’s waist. “Hey Baby.”
Spencer jumped a little and spun around the stool, Ashley arms still around her waist. “Hey Ash. You were great tonight.”
“Yes you were sweetie.” Spencer blushed as Ashley’s dad turned toward the two of them. “You must be Spencer.” Spencer nodded as she tried to get Ashley to let go of her. Ashley just smirked. “I’ve heard a lot about you.” Spencer blushed again but stopped fighting with Ashley. She finally realized it was a useless endeavor. “You should join us for a late dinner. I’d like to get to know you better.”
“I’d love to join you but my dad only let me come on the condition that I would come home right after.” Danger nodded as Ashley pouted. “Glen didn’t come home today and my dad is a little upset. Apparently Glen pushed himself too much and ended up injuring himself again.” Ashley nodded.
“Well, let me drive you home than and Ashley can get her car later.” Ashley rolled her eyes and Spencer chuckled. “Let’s go.” Ashley and Spencer followed Danger out to his lime and they all left for Spencer’s house.
Ashley walked into her empty house. Her mom was off in New York with Boy Toy Number 8, the longest lasting so far, and the only one Ashley had yet to meet. She climbed the stairs and practically floated down the hallway and into her room. The night had been wonderful, nothing could have been better, well, maybe the whole Jack situation could have been better.
Ashley turned on her computer and signed into Yahoo!. The new mail window popped up. She quickly clicked it to sign into her e-mail. There was one that took her by complete surprise, Jack had responded.
You did great tonight. Thanks for the song.
Ashley smiled, realizing that Jack had forgiven her, at least to an extent which would allow her to respond to the e-mail without it being mean. She had sent of few of those back when she first moved away, and for some psychotic reason, Ashley had kept every single one of them.
<Ohio_qte>: Hey babe. I just wanted to remind you that you were great tonight.
<rockergrrl>: Thanks. Your dad alright?
<Ohio_qte>: Sleeping. He was exhausted. Glen probably set himself back a couple of months.
<rockergrrl>: That sucks.
<Ohio_qte>: Yeah, I sent you some pictures. I think you’ll like them. *wink*
<rockergrrl>: Oh really? *Quickly signs into e-mail account*
Ashley brought her e-mail window back up and clicked on the e-mail from Spencer, subject reading I Love You. There was no message but several pictures attached. Smiling, Ashley opened the first picture and her eyes slowly opened wide as the picture loaded.
<rockergrrl>: Spence …
<Ohio_qte>: Yes Ashley?
<rockergrrl>: Are all the pictures like the first?
<Ohio_qte>: *Nods and smiles sweetly, innocently*
<rockergrrl>: Are you trying to kill me?
<Ohio_qte>: No. I just thought it would be better than that crap you get in your junk box with those fake circus boobs and what not. You don’t think so? *pout*
Ashley stared at the screen, working to calm down her breathing which was proving to be hard because she knew Spencer’s naked body was right below the IM window. Smirking, Ashley quickly thought of something to pay her back.
<rockergrrl>: Is anyone awake?
<Ohio_qte>: No, want to come over?
<rockergrrl>: *shakes head* put on your headphones and lock your door
<Ohio_qte>: *quirks eyebrow*
<rockergrrl>: just do it. *Smirks*
Ashley smiled as she hooked up her camcorder to her computer. She dug around the floor of her closet until she found the tri-pod. “Spencer Carlin, you will regret the day you sent me naked pictures of yourself.” She looked at the computer when she heard Spencer send another message.
<Ohio_qte>: Have you looked at all the pictures?
<rockergrrl>: Should I?
<Ohio_qte>: I think so.
Ashley opened the next picture. Nothing seemed to be different. The next one, Spencer’s hand was on her stomach. “Oh my god, no she didn’t.”
<rockergrrl>: Oh. My. God.
<Ohio_qte>: Open the last one.
Ashley gulped and opened the last picture. Spencer’s eyes were closed and her back was arched. Ashley couldn’t believe was she was seeing.
“What I’m about to do will so beat that though.” Ashley turned the camera on and she set it up so she could use it as a WebCam. She then opened the program and started the camera. She sent Spencer an invite and moved onto her bed, in front of the camera. She watched the computer monitor until she knew Spencer was watching and then waved. “Hi sweetie. Oh, payback’s a bitch!” Ashley smiled and slowly started pulling her shirt off. The computer was making a noise every time Spencer wrote something but Ashley just ignored it, already having an idea of what was being said.
Jack looked at her buddy list and saw that Ashley had set up a webcam. She opened it up and as soon as it loaded Jack’s eyes went wide and she closed the window. “I guess that picture Madison sent was fake. I didn’t notice a birthmark.”
Jack was outside washing her car when Spencer pulled up. They were going to hang out and watch movies all day. She waved at Mr. Carlin as Spencer got out of the car. “Afternoon Mr. C. How are you?”
“I’m good Jack, and yourself?”
“I’m doin’ alright sir. This vacation has been pretty boring though with my dad in New York and all.” Arthur nodded.
“Well, its already Wednesday and come Monday you’ll be begging for the boredom back.” Boy, if he only knew. “Have a good time and just call me when you need a ride home Spence. Bye girls.”
The two girls waved at Mr. Carlin as he drove off. “So what movies you get for today?”
Jack went back to washing her car as she answered. “A bunch of oldies. It’s time to revisit our childhoods I think.” Spencer chuckled and shook her head. “I’m almost done out here if you want to head inside. I already set out a bunch of snack but the popcorn needs to be popped.”
“Okay, don’t take too long though, some great movies are awaiting us I am sure.” Jack just stuck out her tongue then turned back to her car. “You never left your childhood. See you in a few.”
Jack watched Spencer walk into her apartment. She shook her head and sighed as she started rinsing off the suds. Hearing a car engine, Jack looked up and saw that all too familiar SUV pull into the courtyard. She stood still, watching Ashley pull closer. When Ashley stopped the two girls looked at each other. Jack noticed Ashley was wearing an old ring. Without saying a word, Ashley drove off. Jack looked down at the ring she was wearing, one that matched Ashley’s.
Spencer walked back outside and saw Jack just standing there, staring at the entrance to the courtyard. “You okay Jack?” Jack turned around and looked at Spencer, rubbing at her eyes to quickly wipe the tears from her eyes. “Jack, what happened?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Jack cleaned up all the supplies for the car. “Ready to watch some good movies?” Jack didn’t even wait for a response and headed inside. Spencer sighed and followed her inside. “Popcorn all popped?”
“Yeah. You know, we can do this some other time Jack. These movies will be around for the rest of our lives I’m sure.” Jack stopped what she was doing and leaned against the island in her kitchen. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“It’s old news, something that happened before I moved to Ohio.” Spencer nodded and stood next to Jack. “Its really something I don’t want to talk about. I’m working on getting over it because something needs to happen before Monday.” Spencer crooked an eyebrow. “You know, when school starts back up.” Spencer nodded. “Movie time?”
“Yeah, lets start watching a movie.” The two girls grabbed the bowls of popcorn and walked into the living room. “What should we start off with?” Jack shrugged as she sat on the couch. “Okay, how about Beauty and the Beast?” Jack nodded and grabbed the DVD remote as Spencer put in the movie. “Alrighty then.” Spencer sat on the couch next to Jack and the two of them settled in for a night of movies.
Three hours later, the phone rang and Jack woke up, grabbing the receiver. “Hello?”
<Hey Jack.> Jack sighed and looked down at the sleeping Spencer. <How are you?>
“I’m good and you?” Jack waited for the person to respond but when no answer came, she rolled her eyes. “Okay, you call me and then don’t say anything. I’m going to hang up on you.” Jack felt Spencer stirring and wanted to hurry up and get off the phone.
<Fine, but I’ll see you Monday Jackie.> Jack growled low in her throat. <Oops, sorry. Bye.>
“Goodbye Maddy.” Jack slammed the phone back onto the cradle, waking Spencer. “Sorry Spence, didn’t mean to wake you.” Jack carefully untangled herself from Spencer and stood up. I should have known the phone call wasn’t going to be a good one, who would be calling me?
“Was that the same person from earlier?” Jack looked at Spencer quizzically. “When you were washing your car?” Jack shook her head and started pacing across the living room. “You are seriously dreading Monday morning aren’t you?” Jack nodded and stopped pacing. She turned and looked at Spencer. “You’ll be fine. You can hang our with my girlfriend and I.”
“What’s your girlfriend’s name?”
Right before Spencer answered Jack her cell phone rang and she picked it up. “Hey Babe, what’s up?” Spencer mouthed ‘girlfriend’ and Jack nodded. “Of course. What time are you picking me up? Right now? Well, I’m not home, give me an hour?” Spencer started collecting her stuff as Jack started cleaning up the junk food. “Okay, see you then Hun. Bye.”
“Got a hot date tonight?” Spencer chuckled as she nodded and pulled on her jacket. “Well, I’ll drive you home. It’ll give you more time tog et ready because you definitely need it.” Spencer punched Jack’s shoulder but she just laughed. “Ready to go?”
Spencer stood in her bedroom, staring at the clothes spread out on her bed, Ashley was due here any moment now and Spencer still hadn’t picked out her outfit. Sighing, she walked over to her computer and looked at the pictures flying across her screen as the screen saver started. Pictures of her family and friend that were her favorites blinked in and out but there were two pictures that jumped out at her. The first one was a picture from Ohio with Lauren and Jack. She smiled remembering the day that picture had been taken. The three of them had skipped school.
Spencer laughed as she listened to Lauren and Jack bickering about Jack’s driving from the back sear of Jack’s mini. Jack had picked Lauren and Spencer up at Lauren’s house that morning and the three of them were heading toward the lake. School had started about an hour ago.
Jack looked in the rear view mirror. “What you laughing at Spence?” Jack smiled and moved her sunglasses down so her eyes could be seen and winked.
“You two are crazy.” Jack nodded and put her attention back on the road. “I can’t believe the two of you were able to talk me into skipping school today.” Lauren turned around and looked at Spencer. “What?”
“Spence, today was going to be your last day anyway. You leave Friday. Come on, we just wanted to give you a true farewell.” Lauren looked at a smirked Jack. “Besides, we got permission from your mother and she called the school letting them know you wouldn’t be coming today after all.”
Spencer got a weird look on her face. “You mean I’m technically not skipping school right now?” Lauren grimaced and nodded. Spencer sighed and sunk down into her seat. “When you guys go back tomorrow, could you tell everyone I did actually skip today?” Jack busted out laughing and Lauren just nodded.
“And you call us crazy.” Jack pulled over to the side of the road and pulled her digital camera out of the center console. “We need proof that little miss Spencer was not at school today.” Jack and Lauren leaned back and Spencer leaned forward, sticking her head between the two of theirs. “Cheese everyone!”
The second picture was one of her and Ashley. It was from the first day they met. That day seemed so surreal when Spencer looked back at it now. Looking over at the original picture, Spencer smiled, remembering the two of them cramming into that small photo booth, Spencer sitting on Ashley’s knees and Ashley stretching her neck so her face was within the chose frame.
Suddenly someone knocked on her door and she jumped up. Looking down, she realized she was still only wearing her bra and boy shorts. She ran up to the door and stuck her head out to see her father standing in the hallway. “Yeah Dad?”
“Ashley is here and waiting for you in the kitchen. I would suggest you hurry up because your mother is going to be here soon.” A dark cloud came across Spencer’s face and Arthur looked away. “I assumed you were going to spend the night at Jack’s.” Spencer nodded. “Are you almost ready?”
“Yeah, I’m almost ready. Just tell her I’ll be right down please.” Arthur nodded and walked down the hallway. Spencer quickly closed her door and looked frantically at the clothes strewn all over. She smiled as her eyes fell upon a certain outfit and she quickly finished getting ready.
A few minutes later, Spencer walked down the stairs but stopped halfway down. Normally Spencer could hear Ashley chatting with her dad. Spencer always loved how her father took a interest in Ashley, even before they were dating, but tonight, the air felt different and the house was far too quiet. Taking a deep breath, Spencer suddenly realized what was wrong. Paula was home. Spencer shook her head and put a smile on her face then walked into the kitchen announcing, “I’m ready.”
Ashley jumped off her stool, almost knocking it down when Spencer walked in. The past couple of minutes had been very awkward since as soon as Arthur had made it back to the kitchen, the doorbell rang and he grimaced. Having already been warned of Paula’s possible arrival, Ashley braced herself but then Paula actually looked somewhat pleased to see Ashley, stating that she liked Ashley’s hair.
Spencer chuckled at Ashley’s enthusiasm for getting out of the house but she still had to say her goodbyes. “Bye Dad. I’ll be home in the morning,” she said, pointing toward the overnight bag she had packed. Paula frowned but Spencer just ignored her, as was usual nowadays.
“Okay sweetie. Have a good time.” Spencer kissed him on the cheek and grabbed her bag off the floor. “I hope to see you tomorrow as well Ashley, maybe you can join us for dinner tomorrow night?”
Ashley flashed Arthur a bright smile. “I’d love to, as long as I am not the one saying grace.” Arthur and Spencer laughed and even Paula chuckled a little at that, everyone remembering the one time Paula had made Ashley say grace.
“I promise you won’t have to.” Ashley nodded and her and Spencer were out the door. Arthur’s gaze fell to Paula. “You wanted to talk.” Paula nodded.
Spencer let out a long deep sigh as she climbed into Ashley’s SUV. “I cannot believe we got out of there free of scratches and soon to be bruises.”
“Especially since you informed them you would be spending the night. I can’t believe you did THAT.” Spencer laughed as Ashley drove down the street. “Your mom was weird tonight. She kept on complimenting me on my hair. Said she loved how long it was.”
Spencer groaned. “one of my friends from Ohio sent me some pics of her new haircut and my mom saw them.” She turned to face Ashley. “She got it cut really short and dyed it black with blue tips.” Ashley’s eyes widened a little but luckily Spencer did not see. “She is .. or, was, I guess, Lauren’s girlfriend but apparently they broke up.”
“Well, that explains it. I should so freak her out one of the weekends you are with her. I mean, I have been considering getting my hair cut, although not really short and then dyed some outrageous color.” Spencer looked at Ashley, a smirk forming as she pictured Ashley with blue hair. “What do you think?”
“No outrageous color. How about Kelly Clarkson streaks.” Ashley nodded. “You know, like the “Since You’ve Been Gone” video.” Ashley nodded again but her mind was no longer on the conversation but the road. “So, where are we going?”
Ashley turned and smiled. “It’s a surprise.” Spencer pouted but Ashley just shook her head. “Nope, not going to work tonight. This is going to stay a surprise. As a matter of fact,” Ashley paused as she pulled into an empty parking lot, “put this on.” Spencer looked down at the bandana Ashley was holding out to her and quirked an eyebrow. “Come on. You’ll realize where we’re going if you don’t.”
“Fine, but this better be worth it.”
Ashley smiled as Spencer turned around and allowed her to tie the bandana around her head. “Trust me, it will be.” Spencer smiled as she sat back in her seat and relaxed. Ashley put the car into drive and moved back into traffic. “You’re going to love tonight, I promise.”
About a half hour late, Spencer felt the car stop. “Are we there?”
“Yep, just wait and I’ll help you out.” Spencer’s hands went toward the make-shift blindfold. “Stop, no peeking just yet.” The passenger door opened and Spencer felt Ashley lan across and undo her seat belt. Spencer was straining to hear any noise, she did not want to look foolish. As though reading her mind, Ashley patted her on the back. “Don’t worry. This place isn’t busy tonight.”
“Ashley where are we?” Spencer allowed Ashley to guide her out of the car and down a sidewalk. “Ash.” Ashley chuckled and opened a door, guiding Spencer through and then pulling it shut. Spencer sniffed the air and turned to face where she thought Ashley was standing. “We’re at your house?” Ashley stood behind Spencer, her mouth open, gawking. “You go through all this trouble of blindfolding me and we are at your house?”
Ashley chuckled as Spencer put her hand on her hip, her stance saying she was glaring but the blindfold was still on. “Spence, I’m behind you and a glare doesn’t work when someone can’t se your eyes.” Spencer slowly turned around and removed the blindfold. “And you still haven’t made it to the final destination of your surprise.” Ashley walked through the kitchen toward the back porch with Spencer following close behind. When they walked out onto the porch, Spencer gasped. “This is your surprise.”
Spencer turned toward Ashley and smiled. “You were right. It is most definitely worth the blindfold.” Ashley shyly smiled and Spencer got a very bold idea. “Maybe we can use it later.”
“Use what?” Spencer smirked and help up the bandana. “I believe I have created a monster within you.” Spencer just chuckled as she walked to the table set up next to the pool in the back of the Davies mansion. “So, you like?” Spencer nodded and kissed Ashley on the cheek. “Well, lets eat.”
“What’s for dinner?” Ashley smirked and pulled out Spencer’s chair for her. “Such a gentleman.” Ashley stuck her tongue out and pushed the chair back under the table. “It is something good?” Ashley lifted the plate covers and Spencer crooked an eyebrow. “I don’t mean to be ungrateful or ruin the moment or anything, but pasta and meatballs?”
“Yeah. I cooked it myself.” Spencer’s eyebrow crooked even higher up. “Okay, the meatballs came frozen in a bag but I baked them myself.” Spencer chuckled as Ashley sat down and pouted. “I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen and you complained.”
“Aww, poor baby. I wasn’t complain, just finding it hard to believe that you actually cooked all this by yourself.” Spencer set her napkin in her lap and smiled at Ashley. “This looks wonderful Ash. I am very proud of you.” Ashley smiled and watched Spencer take her first bite. “Ohm y god. This is delicious.”
“Really?” Spencer nodded and grabbed a piece of bread out of the basket in the center of the table, between to white taper candles. “Good, I was afraid you weren’t going to like it. My mother taught me the sauce recipe back when I was little.” Spencer smiled as Ashley dug into her own plate. “It’s got red wine and a bunch of herbs and spices.”
“It’s great Ashley. You should cook more often.” Ashley shook her head and picked at her pasta. “Why not?”
Ashley had just taken a forkful of pasta and Spencer laughed at the look on her face. “Today is a special day.” Spencer looked at Ashley, slightly panicked about forgetting a special date. “I assumed you remembered when I saw you walk into the kitchen.”
Spencer looked down and remembered what she was wearing. Then she looked up in the sky and did the math in her head. “It’s been … eight month since I ran into you and you went nutso on me.” Ashley blushed, causing Spencer to laugh. “I actually didn’t remember, or at least not realize what today was. I just saw these lying on my bed and thought it would be a nice outfit to wear.” Ashley shrugged and pushed the food around on her plate. “I have been a little more focused on a certain video I found in my inbox this morning.”
Ashley looked up and smirked. “Oh really? Must have been a very interesting video someone sent you.”
“Oh it was. It’s a video of this beautiful, sexy, brunette girl.” Ashley blushed as Spencer made eye contact and Ashley could see the desire evident in the blonde girl’s eyes. “Her eyes are squeezed shut and she’s screaming my name as she brings herself over the brink.”
“Wowzers.” Spencer chuckled as Ashley broke eye contact. She tried to say something more but was render speechless now. Spencer watched Ashley turn back to her food, a deep blush rising up her neck and onto her face. I wonder how her whole body looks flushed like that. Spencer herself started blushing as the thoughts running through her head after that one took a dirtier turn deeper into the gutter. “Maybe you’ll see a live and in person encore performance a little later.”
Spencer smirked at Ashley’s suggestion but quickly dropped it when Ashley looked up. She shrugged indifferently and continued to eat her dinner. Unfortunately, Spencer could not keep a straight face and slowly, a smile crept across her face. “That sounds wonderful, although, I think the encore could include some audience participation.”
“Of course. How about a pool and blindfold as well?” Spencer’s smile turned into a sexy smirk and she grabbed the blindfold off the table. Standing up, Spencer walked toward the pool. “Where you going?”
Spencer stopped and turned to look at Ashley. “The pool.” With that, Spencer pulled her shirt off and started walking again. When she reached the edge, her capris came off as well. Ashley was still sitting at the table, just watching the blonde girl. “Are you coming?”
“Just about.” Spencer chuckled and dove into the heated pool that Ashley was now extremely happy her mother had insisted upon it. She quickly jumped up and removed her clothes. Taking a running start, Ashley canon balled into the center of the pool, just barely missing Spencer’s head as she ducked back under the water.
Spencer swam up behind Ashley and wrapped the now wet blindfold over Ashley’s eyes. At first, Ashley was tense, but Spencer’s soothing, feather light touches made her muscles relax as her other sense became heightened. Spencer carefully guided Ashley to the stairs and had her sit down, the water coming just below her breast. Spencer removed the other girl’s bra and threw it over her shoulder.
“Shh.” Spencer tenderly kissed Ashley. “Let me take care of you.”
Ashley nodded and let out a deep breath. “Please do.” Spencer smiled and began “taking care” of Ashley.
Ashley woke up and turned around to look at her girlfriend. The two of them had fallen asleep in the bedroom after their midnight snack in the kitchen, consisting of cheesecake and cherries. It had been a wonderful night and everything had been perfect. The past eight months had been the best eight months of Ashley’s entire life and all because of the girl lying beside her.
Ever since Spencer had entered her life, everything seemed better. Ashley was happy because there was finally someone who cared about her and about what happens to her. It had been a long time since Ashley had felt loved like that … about a month before Jack had even left. Ashley sighed and carefully untangled herself from Spencer. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she looked at the pictures that completely covered her closet door. The pictures had changed recently, the biggest one, which also happened to be the one in the center, was Spencer, smiling brightly. All Ashley could think about were the pictures it covered, especially one particular picture.
“Ash?” Ashley turned around and looked down at her girlfriend, blinking and rubbing at her eyes as she slowly fully woke up. She smiled sadly, causing Spencer to sit up. Spencer wrapped her arms around Ashley’s waist and set her head on her shoulder. “Is something wrong?” Ashley turned back to the closet door.
“Just couldn’t sleep anymore.” Spencer looked at the closet door as well, wanting to see what was bothering Ashley. “That door has so many layers of pictures– I have no clue how they manage to stay up there. I just tape them on top of each other.” Spencer nodded as she kissed Ashley’s shoulder. ‘That door is covered with memories.”
“That person Aiden called about, he/she on there?”
“Yeah, she’s on there. Her pictures are covered though. I couldn’t bring myself to take them down.” Spencer watched as Ashley played with one of her rings. Her eyebrows scrunched with confusion, she had seen that ring somewhere before, she knew it. “I wish I could just talk to her, maybe when I could make everything alright, or at least begin the process.”
“Have you tried?”
Ashley nodded. “A couple times. She actually responded to an e-mail. She was at the show Tuesday night. Left after the first song though.” Ashley sighed and turned around. She kissed Spencer and smiled. “I think we have made a little progress but not nearly enough.”
Spencer nodded and noticed the ring again. “Where’d you get that ring?”
“Bought it at a flea market a couple years back. It’s one of those friendship things. I’ve worn it everyday, since she left.” Spencer gave Ashley a weird look. “Our friendship lasted through Madison but it was weak when Maggie came along.”
“Well, how about we spend the morning together and then you call her and see if she wants to do something this afternoon, just the two of you, since I would probably make matters worse.” Ashley looked at Spencer. “Really, if her friendship means that much to you, then you should try your best to fix matters.” Ashley nodded as Spencer kissed her on the cheek. “Now go get in the shower. You smell like chlorine.”
“No I don’t.” Specner gave Ashley a look and Ashley smelled her hair. “oh, maybe I do, but then you do too.” Ashley smirked.
“And you though I was a monster.” Spencer laughed as Ashley rolled her eyes and then started pulling on her arm. “Okay, okay, we’ll both get in the shower but you realize that’ll take up the rest of our morning?” Ashley’s only response was her widening smirk.
TWO HOURS LATER
Spencer sat on Ashley’s bed, wrapped up in one of her big fluffy bathrobes. “I’m all pruny!” called Ashley from the bathroom. Spencer just chuckled as she looked down at her own pruny hands. Ashley walked out of the bathroom. “Are you going to get dressed? The longer you stay naked, the longer we’ll be here.”
Spencer laughed and stood up, the robe falling off her shoulders. She smirked as Ashley rolled her eyes and headed back into the bathroom. Spencer walked into Ashley’s closet and picked out an outfit. “Can I borrow this?”
“You are not even looking.”
“Doesn’t matter. Won’t change my answer.” Ashley walked back in the room and started making the bed as Spencer got dressed. “Looks good on you.”
“Thank you. Will you brush my hair?”
Ashley turned around and smiled at Spencer. “Of course. Sit at my vanity.” Leaving the task of making the bed halfway done, Ashley walked up behind Spencer and grabbed a brush. As she was brushing Spencer’s hair, Ashley started getting nervous about meeting up with Jack. “What is she’s busy this afternoon?”
“Well. You’ll just ask about later tonight or anytime between now and when school starts. I’ll stay with you until you have made plans.” Ashley nodded. “Do you know what you might do?”
“Yeah, there’s this spot on the beach me and her use to go to. Hopefully she remembers. I was thinking we could just go there and talk.” Spencer nodded and Ashley set the brush back on the vanity. “I should probably call her now huh?”
Ashley took a deep breath and looked over at Spencer. Spencer smiled and motioned for her to go to the phone. Ashley walked over to the house phone and picked up the receiver. “Here goes.”
Jack looked up from her painting as the phone rang and frowned. The maid must have put if back on the hook before she left. Sighing, she stood up and walked to the kitchen, answering the phone on the last ring. “Hello?”
<Yeah.> Jack did not really know what to say, so she just jumped onto the counter and didn’t say anything at all. <I was just wondering if maybe, you wanted to go to our old spot today.>
Jack started at the microwave across from her. Again, she did not know what to say but this time there were no more words spoken by the other voice. “When?”
<Well, I was thinking as soon as possible. We need to get things sorted out before school starts … or we may never.>
Jack nodded, knowing Ashley couldn’t see her. She ran her free hand through her hair and sighed. “I don’t know.” Jack waited for a click on the other line but was surprised not o hear one. She pinched the bridge of her nose, a migraine starting. Resting her elbows on the higher counter behind her, she leaned her head back. “Meet you there in an hour.”
<An hour it is. Bye.>
“Bye.” Jack hit the off button on her cordless and threw it onto the couch in the living room. She rubbed her temples and jumped down from the counter, her slippers breaking the tense silence that had fallen over the kitchen and causing her to giggle as they squeaked with each step. She walked into her bedroom, heading straight toward her closet and started looking for a beach outfit to wear over her bathing suit. Going through the hangers she found the perfect outfit, khaki capris and a light blue tank top layered with a turquoise tank top. Realizing what she was doing, Jack stared at her reflection in the mirror and shook her head. “What the hell am I doing?”
Ashley sat in the parking lot, staring out at the beach, waiting to see that metallic blue Ford Mustang. It is impossible for only one person to get o the spot, at least get there and still be alive. Third time heading down there, Jack had actually broken her arm when she slipped and let go of Ashley's hand. Luckily, they had already been more than halfway down. Suddenly, there was a knock on Ashley's window and she looked up to see Jack standing there.
Ashley rolled the window down. “Hey Jack.” Jack gave a half smile and moved to let Ashley out. “Thank you for coming.” Jack nodded but still didn’t say anything. Ashley nodded as well but didn’t say anything more. The two of them walked in comfortable silence until they came upon an empty stretch of beach. “Ready?”
“I can’t believe we are crazy enough to do this again. I cannot remember the last time we did this.”
Ashley looked down on the ground. “It was two days before … well, you know.”
Jack turned around and looked at Ashley. She sighed and sat down on the ground, her legs dangling below her in a opening, just big enough for a person to slide through. She swung around, her arms doing a mock push-up and then carefully lowered herself in the hole. Ashley laid down on her stomach and grabbed Jack’s hands. “This doesn’t appear to go as deep as I remember it to.” Ashley chuckled. “Hey, careful there. Lets go slow now, I don’t want to get another broken arm.”
“Geesh, will I always be blamed for that?” Jack looked up and smiled. Ashley grinned back and started sliding Jack down the opening.
“Steady, stea-STOP! I’m already touching the first ledge.” Jack let go of Ashley hands and stretched out her hands, feeling for the wall of the space, walking away from the first ledge. “Damn, never realized I was that tall. You ready to come down?”
Ashley took a deep breath and sat like Jack had been before she swung and then swung herself over. “Please don’t drop me.”
“Have I ever dropped you?” Jack shined a flashlight upwards as Ashley looked down.
“Where’d you get the flashlight?”
“It was in the waistband of my pants. You didn’t notice?” Ashley shook her head causing Jack to quirk and eyebrow. “Well, to answer MY question, no, I have never dropped you.” Ashley smiled. “Drop.” Taking another deep breath, Ashley let go of the ledge and dropped down the tunnel. Jack caught her and leaned back against the wall to keep the two of them from falling the rest of the way. “I have always told you I would catch you if you ever fell.” Ashley looked up into Jack’s eyes and softly smiled. The two of them turned and sat down to the edge to look down the rest of the way. “Wanna stay here?”
Ashley laughed. “Come on, for old times sake.”
Jack handed the flashlight to Ashley. “I always suggested we stay here, we never did, not even when I broke my arm. We still went down all the way, and may I remind you I didn’t even drop you when I had a broken arm.” Ashley mock glared at Jack who just chuckled and shook her head. “I did not go to the hospital until the next day.” Ashley rolled her eyes as Jack swung over and down. “I think we’re tall enough that we can just drop down without having to worry.” Jack let go of the edge and dropped. “Shit, that hurt.”
“Are you okay?” Ashley shined the flashlight down at Jack. “What happened?”
“Um, was a little farther down than I thought.” Ashley laughed as she dropped the flashlight down to Jack. “Wow, some of our old junk is still down here. Proves no one else is as crazy as us.” Ashley swung down onto the ledge. “Wait a minute. Let me put the flashlight down so I can catch you.” Ashley rolled her eyes and just dropped, landing on her feet. “How the hell?”
“Just smarter than you Jack. Now, is our lamp still down here?”
Jack shined the flashlight onto a battery operated lamp. “The batteries are probably dead though.” Ashley pulled some batteries out of her pocket. “You came more prepared than I did.” Ashley smirked as she turned on the lamp. Jack was sitting on the ground a little bit away. “Damn, that’s bright.”
Ashley sat across from Jack and noticed the knee of her capris was bloody. “What happened to your knee?” Ashley crawled across the cavern and started rolling up Jack’s capris. “Did this happen when you dropped?” Jack nodded. “I should have known not to let you go first this time.” Ashley started checking all the pockets on her cargo pants.
“What are you looking for?” Ashley pulled out a small travel first aid kit. “Again with the preparedness. Who are you and what have you done with the real Ashley?”
Ashley stuck out her tongue and kneeled down in front of Jack. “Now stay still because this might sting a little.” Jack looked at Ashley, her expression showing total disbelief. “Okay, it’ll sting a lot but take it like a man.” Jack rolled her eyes but winced as Ashley sprayed disinfectant on the scrape. “You okay?” Jack nodded and gave a little smile. Ashley quickly put a large bandage over the scrape. “All done.”
“Thanks.” Jack sighed and leaned against the cave-like wall. Ashley crossed her legs underneath her and watched her ex-best friends. “What are we going to do about us Ash?” Ashley just shrugged her shoulders as Jack closed her eyes, knowing it was a rhetorical question but wanting to acknowledge the question anyway. “I mean, I hate it that I let Maggie ruin our friendship too.” Jack opened her eyes and locked eyes with Ashley. “But you really hurt me.”
“I know.” Ashley broke eye contact as she looked down at the ring on her finger. “I broke my promise.”
“I still wear my ring too.” Ashley looked up, shocked. “My girlfriend in Ohio hated it, but, I don’t know. We bought the rings before we started going out. I felt like I would be betraying you if I took it off.”
“Girlfriend?” Ashley asked with a smirk.
Jack sighed again. “Ex-girlfriend to be exact.” Ashley looked at Jack, her expression clearly saying she wanted more details. Jack smiled wistfully and leaned forward, drawing random shapes in the small amount of sand on the floor of the cavern. “She was beautiful, and tall, like 5’ 8” or something.” Ashley chuckled since both of them were short, Jack’s 5’ 4” being the taller of the two. “When we first met, her hair came all the way down her back but when I left, she had cut it shoulder length. It was this unnatural red but it looked good on her.” Ashley chuckled again and clicked her tongue. “What’s so funny?”
“You and red heads.” Jack blushed and ducked her head. “What happened with her?”
“She started drinking, which didn’t really bother me, at first. About two weeks before we broke up, she got drunk and then high at a party we had gone to. She was so high and drunk, that she kissed her best friend.” Ashley nodded, knowing this still wasn’t why they broke up. “Her friend was more apologetic than her, which pissed me off. We had a huge fight and I left.”
“I thought you said this was a couple of weeks before you broke up.”
Jack nodded. “Two.” She moved around and matched Ashley’s position. “I went to new York with my dad because he was getting married. Came back two weeks later and found a note in my locker.”
Ashley’s mouth dropped open. “She broke up with you? And with a note in your locker? That’s almost as bad as a post-it.”
Jack chuckled as she remembered that episode of Sex & the City. “No, she didn’t break up with me.”
Ashley sat fidgeting as Jack fell into a silence that permeated the whole cavern. She didn’t know what to say but now she knew what the note said. “I don’t know what to say Jack.”
Jack shook her head. “There’s nothing to say. I’ve already called her a bitch, and to her face.” Ashley chuckled. “As much as I want to hate her, I can’t seem to do it.” Jack looked Ashley right in the eye. “She helped me get over you, at least, in the romantic way.”
Ashley gave a small smile. “You still love her even after she cheated on you?”
“I still love you don’t I?” Ashley looked up. “Its just in a different way now.” Looking at her watch, Jack shook her head. “We’ve been down here a half hour and that’s the first time we’ve mentioned that little bit from our history.” Ashley nodded. “Well, I guess that’s the reason why we are down here in the first place.” Ashley nodded again. “I got over it pretty quickly once I started dating Lauren. Everything will be alright on Monday, unless you have problem about something.”
“No, I have no problems … well, at least not with you … or us. I was only worried you wouldn’t be alright.” Ashley stood up and started pacing at Jack’s feet. “Madison’s still being a bitch, but its not as bad anymore since she doesn’t hold the whole gay thing over me now.”
“Did you really think she would stop after I left?” Jack stood up and stretched. “We should probably be getting out of here. My knee is starting to hurt really bad and if we stay any longer I don’t know if I’ll be able to get outta here.” Ashley smirked but nodded and headed toward the easiest wall to climb, and then started climbing it like she had been climbing rock walls all her life. “You’ve been practicing.” Ashley chuckled and looked over her shoulder to see Jack slowly following her path back up. “I, obviously, haven’t.”
“What, they don’t have rock walls in Ohio?” Jack shook her head and rolled her eyes as Ashley helped her over the first ledge. “You know you’re just jealous of my abs of life.”
“Oh please.” Jack stood up and dusted off her pants. “I got in trouble for bringing a six pack and a pair of guns to school in Ohio,” she said, flexing her muscles. Ashley just laughed at her friend’s corniness. “What, it could have been worse. I could have asked for your ticket.”
Jack smirked and flexed again. “To this gun show!” Ashley just laughed and shook her head before starting to climb the rest of the way up. “Oh come on. That was a little funny!”
Spencer sat on her bed working on some homework her English teacher had assigned over the break. She smirked, remembering everyone in class groaning as the assignment was announced. Spencer had already heard about it from Ashley because she had the class before lunch and Spencer had it after. The assignment wasn’t hard though, just had to write a poem that was illustrated by pictures. Spencer just needed to find pictures to illustrate what she had already written. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Spencer, expecting Ashley, smirked. “Come in!”
Jack walked in and smiled. “Hey, nice pjs.” Spencer rolled her eyes and threw a pillow at Jack. “Whatcha doin’, other than throwing with really bad aim?”
“Homework.” Jack made a gagging motion as she sat at Spencer’s desk, looking at her closed laptop. “Yeah, I need a new one.” Jack looked up quizzically. “Laptop. That one is pretty old and I made the mistake of letting Glen borrow it and he download some crap.”
“Well, my dad just sent me a new one. Want my old one? Less than a year old and its not broken or anything. My dad just sends me a new one every couple of months.”
Jack shrugged. “I have no clue. I mean, its cool and all but a waste of money. All my old ones just get put in storage so, if you or Clay, or hell, even Glen need a new one, just let me know and I’ll grab some for ya..”
Spencer smiled and nodded her head. “Thanks, I’ll think about it.” Jack smiled back and spun around in Spencer’s desk chair. “You seem to be in a good mood. Something good happen?” Jack grinned and nodded, spinning around again. “That’s good. Mind telling me what?”
Jack finally stopped spinning and stood up. “Made up with a friend from before I moved to Ohio.” Jack started moving to the sound of music that only she could hear. Spencer had to fight to keep from chuckling at her friend’s little quirks. “Mind if I snoop?”
“Go ahead, just don’t make a mess.” Jack nodded and started looking around shelves and looking at all the pictures laying on Spencer’s desk. “That happened kind of fast, didn’t it?” Jack turned to look at Spencer quizzically. “The making up?”
“Oh, well, we were the best of friends before I moved and everything happened. That friendship meant a lot to both of us and we were able to look past everything else.” Jack started snooping around Spencer’s desk again, picking up the pictures that were underneath others. “Why do you think …” Jack paused as she picked up one picture, “something is up?”
“No, I just know how stubborn you can be.” Jack nodded, alarming Spencer. “Jack, what’s wrong? You usually come up with some kind of witty remark.” When no verbal response was given, Spencer stood up and walked up behind the unusually quiet girl. “Jack?”
“I have to go.” Jack dropped the picture she had been looking at. “I have to get home.” She bolted out of the room and down the stairs, leaving a very perplexed Spencer looking at a picture of her and Ashley.
Clay walked into Spencer’s room. “Was that Jack I just saw run out of here?” Spencer nodded. “What happened?”
“I’m not sure exactly.” Clay looked at his sister staring at something on her desk but said nothing and went back into his room. “I wish I knew though.” Spencer sat at her desk and sighed. She signed into Instant Messenger, planning on leaving a message for Jack to read when she signed on.
<rockergrrl>: It worked. We made up.
Spencer looked at the message her girlfriend had just sent and then looked at the picture Jack dropped. Her eyes widened as the realization just smacked her in the face. “Holy shit.”
<rockergrrl>: Spence are you alright?
Spencer pounded on Jack’s door. She was not going to allow the girl to ignore her. Spencer had spent the whole night tossing and turning, unable to sleep. It was now noon and time for Jack to wake up. Spencer pounded on the door harder until she finally heard the locks turning. The door opened to a very grumpy Jack. Spencer smiled brightly. “Good morning Jack. How are you?"
Jack just glared and headed back into the house, leaving the door opened for Spencer. Spencer walked inside and closed the door. The apartment was dark but she could Jack moving around in the kitchen. Spencer carefully made her way into the kitchen. “Coffee?”
Spencer jumped at Jack’s voice. Jack just smirked and handed Spencer a mug. “Thanks.” Jack walked into the living room, Spencer not too far behind her. Jack started pacing in front of her 64” big screen TV as Spencer sat down on the couch, staring at her. “So, you knew Ashley?” Jack grimaced and nodded. “Something happen between you two?” Jack nodded again and stopped pacing. Spencer nodded as well but didn’t say anything. She looked straight ahead and stared at the TV screen. Jack just watched her, waiting for some kind of reaction. “So, what exactly happened between you guys?” Jack shrugged and sat on the other end of the couch. “Okay, I guess I understand that.”
“We had been friends since, God, forever basically. We were in the same kindergarten class.” Jack chuckled. “I remember me and Ashley got in all kinds of trouble together. If one of us was doing something wrong, our teacher knew the other one was not far away, doing the same thing. There was this one time where we dumped paint all over Madison’s head. I think it was blue.” Spencer chuckled and made herself comfortable, knowing another story was coming up. “When we got to high school, a few things changed.
Jack walked into her bedroom full of giggling girls and slightly sneered. She still couldn’t believe Ashley invited all these people. Why did she invite all these people? “Jack, come on. Let’s play Truth or Dare.” Jack looked at the beaming face of her best friend and shook her head. Ashley’s face fell a little but no one else noticed. When she turned to the rest of the girls, Jack’s heart ached. She had hurt Ashley and it was already killing her.
A couple hours late, Ashley and Jack were the only ones awake. Bring It On was playing on the TV, everyone else having fallen asleep right before Eliza Dushku’s audition. Ashley and Jack whispered the lines to each other, having memorized the entire movie after only seeing it once. They both loved Eliza’s character. The two girls were sitting on Jack’s bed, just looking at their feet, wiggling their freshly painted toes. “How did I let you talk me into painting my toenails pink?” Ashley chuckled but it wasn’t the response Jack was expecting. “Ash, what’s wrong?”
“Why did you not want to play Truth or Dare, normally you would jump at the chance to dare me to do something stupid. I would think you would be even more excited about daring one of these other girls.” Jack shrugged and stretched out on her side of the bed. “Are you mad at me?” Jack shook her head and watched as Ashley laid down beside her. “Will you please explain to me what is happening then?” Jack sighed and started curling into a ball. “Stop that and talk to me.” Ashley pulled Jack closer to her, her arms wrapped around Jack’s waist and their legs tangled together. “I’m getting worried about you Jack Jack. You are my best friend and I care about you.”
Jack sighed again. Ashley wasn’t being fair. Ever since they had seen The Incredibles, Ashley has been calling her that, making even harder to refuse her than before. “I’ve changed since we first met, Ash.” Ashley nodded but made a face saying ‘Duh’. “I’m just going through some personal stuff right now and it’s hard.”
“You know you can talk to me whenever you want.” Jack looked away, ashamed at what she was feeling. Ashley pulled her even closer. “Jack, come on. It can’t be that bad.” Jack looked back up at Ashley, tears pooling up in her eyes. “Nothing can ever get in the way of our friendship.”
Jack took a deep breathe. “I hope you really mean that Ashley.” Ashley nodded and looked Jack right in the eyes. “I think I might be gay.” Ashley didn’t say anything but broke her gaze away from Jack’s. “I have feelings for someone in these room, that’s why I didn’t want to play Truth or Dare.”
“Who Jack Jack? Please tell me. I promise I won’t laugh or anything. If you tell me, I might be able to help you.”
Jack shook her head. “I can’t tell you Ashley.” Ashley got a hurt look on her face, tearing Jack’s heart in two. “It’s just that, I think I’m falling for … you Ash.” Ashley blinked as she let herself process what Jack had just said. Jack misunderstood her silence and started squirming in an attempt to get away from Ashley, but she just wrapped her arms around Jack tighter. “Ash, please let me go.”
Ashley carefully brushed away the tears that had started forming in Jack’s eyes. “Jack wait.” Jack squirmed some more and her knee accidentally went between Ashley’s thighs, pushing right up against her center. She bit her lip to hold back her moan. “Jack, stop squirming, you’re making me horny.” Jack blushed and then realized just where her knee was. Ashley smirked and leaned closer to Jack. “I am too Jack Jack.” Ashley closed the distance between them and kissed Jack.
Jack stood up and started her pacing again. “So, you guys dated?” Jack nodded and stopped right in the middle of the TV. “I’m going to presume it didn’t end well?”
“That’s the understatement of the century.”
“Is she the one that cheated on you?” Jack sighed and sat down on the floor. She laid her head on the glass topped coffee table and nodded her head. “Shit.” Spencer slumped onto the ground across from Jack.
“Are you angry?”
Spencer quirked an eyebrow. “Why would I be angry?” Jack shrugged and stood up to poor herself some more coffee. Spencer followed her into the kitchen. “I knew about Ashley’s past before I started dating her. Hell, Madison informed me to stay away the day after I met her.”
“No offense, but why would she even bother?” Spencer grimaced a little bit. “Spencer! I told you to stay away from the basketball cheerleaders!” Spencer chuckled. “Madison’s a bitch.”
“Now that’s the understatement of the century. She was telling my brother I was gay before I had figured it out for myself.” Jack’s face contorted into confusion. “They’re dating, or at least they were.” Jack busted out laughing. “Hey, stop that. She literally broke his heart after his accident. I think she’s back with Aiden.”
“Who else would she have gone to?” Jack stood up as Spencer shrugged “Her and Sherry just need to get over their bullshit and hook up already.” Spencer couldn’t help but laugh at that, just picturing those two together. “So, you’re not angry?”
Spencer looked at Jack. “Why would I be angry? If anyone should be angry its you. I mean, I’m dating the girl who broke your heart. Lauren told me why you moved to Ohio but by the time I moved here, I had forgotten the girl’s name.”
“I only mentioned it to Lauren once and unless you guys talked about it a lot, you only heard it the once.” Spencer nodded, knowing this whole Ashley issue was over but that another issue was about to begin. “Besides, I’m not one to hold grudges.” Jack looked down at her coffee. “How is she?”
“In rehab. She got caught with drugs on campus. She got a plea bargain for ratting out her dealer.” Jack nodded. “She hates herself for what she did to you.” Jack turned around and gazed at the blank television, her and Spencer’s reflection staring back at her. “She misses you Jack.”
“Yea, well, she probably should have thought about that before she cheated one me.” Spencer nodded, knowing Jack was in pain, and not wanting to push her. Jack shook her head and stood up. “Decide whether you want that laptop? Its already been crashed so its just like new.”
Spencer chuckled a little. “Um, I still don’t know if I could accept that from you for no reason.”
“I can think of a reason.” Spencer looked at Jack, knowing her reason. “What? You’re my friend. Shouldn’t that be reason enough?” Spencer chuckled. “How about late Christmas present?”
“You gave me a Christmas present before I left, you know, on Christmas?”
“Oh right.” Jack started pacing again, but this time in thought. “I know, early Easter present.”
“Easter was Sunday.”
Jack rolled her eyes. “Fine, late Easter present and Glen and Clay get one too.” Spencer looked at Jack, trying to figure out if she was actually serious. “Go look at the dining room table.”
Spencer stood up and walked through the French doors that led into the formal dining room that Spencer knew Jack never used. When she turned the light on, Spencer saw three presents sitting on the table, all wrapped in pretty paper and with huge bows. “Wrapped them last night huh?”
Jack chuckled then walked up to Spencer. Nodding, she put her arm around Spencer’s shoulders and pushed her farther into the room. “You know me and my insomniac tendencies.” Spencer laughed and shook her head. “I know I’m crazy, but that’s why you love me, right?”
“Believe what you want Jack.” Jack stuck out her tongue and stomped into the kitchen. “You really need more coffee if that the best comeback you can think up.”
“Well, if I hadn’t been so rudely awakened maybe I wouldn’t be grumpy.”
Spencer couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Rudely awakened? Jack, it was noon.”
“Spence, its Spring Break, maybe you should have brought me some good coffee knowing I would still be asleep.” Spencer rolled her eyes and walked into the kitchen. “By the way, where is there a good place to get coffee in the morning? I know I feel like making any when I wake up once school starts up.”
“I have no clue. Ashley’s a huge coffee addict. She should know a good place.” Jack nodded. “Hey, you got any plans for today? I was thinking you could come to the beach with Ash and me. You know, get out the house.”
Jack chuckled. “I don’t know about that Spence. I don’t want to be a third wheel.”
“Well, I’ll invite Clay and his friends, Chelsea and Sean. It can be a whole group thing.” Spencer could tell Jack still wasn’t sure. “You need to get working on that tan again. You look as pale as a ghost compared to when I first met you.”
“That’s not air, appealing to my Californian vanity.” Spencer smirked, knowing she was halfway to winning the battle. “Your brother never liked me.”
Spencer rolled her eyes. “That was my other brother, Glen, that didn’t like you and you know it Jack.” Jack sighed and leaned back against the counter. “You know you’ll have some fun chica.”
“Are you sure no one will mind me tagging along?” Spencer glared at Jack. “Alright I’ll go.”
“Good,” Spencer said as she walked toward the living room, “cause I already called everyone else and made plans before I came over here.”
“What? You suck Spence.” Spencer smirked. “Do you need a ride home?”
“Let me run up and change.” Spencer nodded and sat on the couch as Jack ran upstairs.
A half hour later and Jack was still getting ready. Spencer walked to the bottom of the stairs. “Come on Jack! What’s taking you so long?”
“Geesh, Spence. Just hold your horses. I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
Spencer groaned and sat down on the last step, not even bothering to go back into the living room. “Hurry up!”
“Okay, okay, I’m coming down.” Spencer turned around and gaped as Jack walked down the stairs. “You okay Spence?” Spencer nodded as she took in what Jack had on. She was wearing a light blue bikini top, showing off her amazing six-pack and white cotton pants which were thin enough to say her bikini bottom. Jack chuckled and clicked her tongue at Spencer’s drooling. “You have a girlfriend Spencer.”
“Huh?” Jack chuckled again quickly pulled a tank top on over her bikini. Spencer shook her head and stuck out her tongue. “Shut up and lets go.” Jack outright laughed this time and grabbed her purse off the table near the front door. Grabbing her hat she opened the door and headed outside. Once outside, Spencer noticed Jack standing on the passenger side. “I have a girlfriend Jack, no need to open my door for me.”
“Not opening it for you dear Spencer.”
“What, is this some British car where the steering wheel is on the other side?” Jack shook her head. “Than what are you doing?”
“You’re driving.” Jack threw Spencer her car keys and then opened the passenger door and climbed in. Spencer smiled and climbed into the driver’s seat. As she turned the ignition, Jack started getting second thoughts. “Okay, now be careful. You’re only the second person other than me to drive this.”
“Who was the first?”
Jack and Spencer were the last ones to arrive. The two of them sat in Jack’s car, watching everyone else who was gathered around Sean’s car, just talking and laughing. “I don’t know about this Spence.”
Spencer nodded, understanding why Jack was so hesitant about this get together. “Jack, you guys made up yesterday. Everything will be fine.”
Jack was going to say something when her phone started ringing. “Its Ashley.” Spencer looked out of the driver’s side window and aw that Ashley was indeed away from the group. “Hey Ash.”
Ashley smiled as she heard her old friend’s voice come across the line. “Hey Jack Jack. I was wondering if you wanted to come to the beach. I’m here with a bunch of friends and my girlfriend is on her way too. I want you to meet her.” Ashley spun around and looked at the parking lot after Jack said she was already there. Ashley quickly spotted Jack’s car. “I see you. Be right there.”
Jack sighed as she closed the phone. “Here we go.” Her and Spencer climbed out just as Ashley reached the car. “Hey Ash.”
“Hey Jack-“ Ashley stopped short as she noticed Spencer. “Spence?”
Spencer smiled and ran around the car to hug and kiss Ashley. “Hey baby.” Ashley looked at Spencer than at Jack, confusion written all over her face. “Why don’t we go sit over there?” Spencer asked, pointing to a picnic table right in front of where Jack parked. The other girls nodded and the three of them sat down.
Sean looked over to where Ashley had gone and saw Spencer and someone else. Not believing his eyes, Sean called Chelsea over. “That girl with Spencer and Ashley, that’s not who I think it is, is it?”
Chelsea looked over at Ashley and her eyes widened in shock. The girl’s hair was different and she was a little paler, but it was definitely Jack. “Wonder what she’s doing here?”
“And with them.”
Clay walked over to his two friends. “Who you guys talking about?”
Chelsea pointed to the girls. “That girl with Spencer and Ashley.”
“You mean Jack?” Sean and Chelsea looked at Clay. “What? She’s a friend of Spencer’s from Ohio. She used to live here. Do you guys know her?”
Chelsea looked at Sean who just shrugged. “Clay, Jack was, well, she was Ashley’s first girlfriend. They broke up after having a huge fight at school and no one ever saw Jack again … until now.” Clay looked back at his sister, the concern evident in his eyes.
Ashley looked between her girlfriend and her ex-girlfriend, knowing her worst fear, since finding out Jack was in Ohio, was true. “What’s going on?”
“Ashley, I know Jack is your friend who came back all of a sudden.” Ashley nodded and looked over at Jack, who just looked down at her hands. “I also know what you did.”
Ashley looked up at her girlfriend, surprised at the calmness of her voice. Ashley didn’t know what to say. She looked down at her feet for a few minutes before finally looking back up. “Are you okay?” Spencer nodded. “Well, this isn’t as bad as I feared it would be.” Both Spencer and Jack looked up confused by this. “I was afraid you two had met up in Ohio.”
“Why?” Ashley looked up at Spencer, now slightly scared as there was anger in her voice. “Would you have never told me what happened between you two?”
“Yes I would have, especially since come Monday you’re going to hear it from everyone else.” Spencer nodded and looked over at Jack. “Well, I know you ain’t Jack’s ex cause she ain’t that good at lying.”
Spencer chuckled and Jack just rolled her eyes. “Spencer was her best friend.”
“You mean Spence, that I’m not he first girl to kiss you in a more than friendly way?”
“What?” Spencer turned and glared at Jack. “Jack, why would she say that?”
Jack grimaced. “Um, well, yesterday she kind of asked about Lauren and well, I told her the whole story. That was before I knew she was your girlfriend.” Spencer was still glaring. “Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have told her even if I did know.” Spencer looked at Jack shocked but Jack just stuck her tongue out and than jumped up to go over with everybody else.
Ashley chuckled at her girlfriend’s distress but did not try to relieve it right at that moment. “Come on kiss slut, lets go join the others.” Spencer glared at Ashley as she walked backwards toward the others. “What?” Spencer growled making Ashley’s eyes widened in surprise. “Uh oh.”
Spencer jumped up off the picnic table. “You better run.” Ashley took off with Spencer close on her heels. Right as they arrived at the others, Spencer caught up with Ashley and tackled her to the ground. “Gotcha.”
Chelsea, Clay, Jack, and Sean all laughed at the look on Ashley’s face. “You all will get what’s coming to you.” Jack just shook her head and helped Spencer up. Ashley stuck her hand but Jack just ignored it. “What the f Jack?”
“Hey, I’m just keeping your warning in mind here Ash. Somebody else can risk your wrath by helping you up.” Ashley scoffed but nobody else stepped forward to help her. Jack sighed and cautiously approached Ashley, grabbing her hand from afar. “I swear Ash, if you try anything funny.”
“Yea, yea, yea.” Ashley grabbed Jack’s hand firmer and right before Jack was going to pull her up, she tugged on Jack’s hand causing her to lose her balance and fall. “So, whatcha going to do? Huh?”
Jack glared at Ashley as Sean helped her up. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Sean reached over and helped Ashley up as well. “I’m gonna make you suffer, before I actually do anything cause you will have no clue as t when I’ll do something. Thank you Sean for helping me up.”
“No probs. You two alright?” Jack nodded and grabbed a cooler out of Sean’s car. “Ash?” Ashley looked over at Jack who just smirked and headed toward the beach. “Ashley?”
“I’m fine Sean, thanks.” Ashley looked over at Spencer. “Spence, did you guys bring drinks? You said you would.”
“Oh yea, we left them in Jack’s trunk though.” Spencer threw Ashley the keys to Jack’s car. “You and Clay should go get them.”
Ashley looked down at the keys in her hand, Jack’s rainbow smiley face seemingly mocking her. “Jack let you drive Alice?”
Spencer looked at Ashley weird. “Wha?”
Ashley rolled her eyes. “Her car, she named it Alice. She let you drive here?”
“Oh yea.” Spencer pulled a beach bag out of Sean’s trunk. “I think she was too lazy to drive herself, either that or she hadn’t had enough coffee yet.” Ashley chuckled and turned to catch up with Clay.
It took an hour for the six teenagers to get everything set up. Onlookers were expecting a party to appear because of all the food and other crap they had brought. The four girls were sunbathing as the boys went to rent some surfboards. Chelsea was laying between Ashley and Jack and couldn’t help but wonder. “So Jack, what brings you back to L.A.?”
Jack looked over at Chelsea, squinting as the sun shined in her eyes. “My dad’s job needed him back out here. I didn’t want to stay with my aunt and uncle in Ohio anymore so I moved back with him.”
Chelsea nodded but her curiosity won getting the better of her. “Was there a girl back in Ohio or is there still one?” Jack turned so she was facing the sky again and put on her sunglasses. Finally, she shook her head. Chelsea looked at her other side, toward Ashley and Spencer. The two of them were just shaking their heads. Well, they always say curiosity killed the cat. “Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up a sore subject.”
“Don’t worry Chels. You didn’t know.”
Spencer sat up, leaning on her elbows. “Hey Jack, you never told me how New York was. How was the wedding?”
Jack sat up, mimicking Spencer’s position. “Oh God. The wedding was horrible. My grandfather got SO drunk.” Jack laughed her head. “Man, him and Danger had a good time though.”
“My dad was there?”
Jack looked at Ashley. “Um, yea, he was my Dad’s best man.” Ashley nodded. “Ugh, my stepmother already hates me. She tried to get the pictures taken without me but my dad wouldn’t have it. He was already pissed that she hadn’t even mentioned the wedding to her daughter. As far as I know, her daughter still doesn’t know.”
“That’s horrible,” Spencer gasped, shocked that someone like that could exist. “I can’t believe someone would do that.”
“Sounds like something my mother would do.” Ashley chuckled a little but the other girls could tell she wasn’t joking. “I didn’t know about Dad #3 until the day before the wedding.” Spencer pulled Ashley into a hug. “Jack, you know the girl?” Jack looked at Ashley and nodded. “You should tell her.” Jack nodded again but didn’t say anymore.
“I’m hungry.” Spencer stood up and walked over to the coolers. “You guys want to make dinner and call the guys in?” Chelsea nodded and headed toward the beach to find the boys. “Ash, you gonna help?” Ashley nodded and walked up to Spencer. “Let’s leave Jack alone for a little while.”
Ashley looked over at her oldest friend. “Yea, you’re right. What do you think its about? The wedding or Lauren?”
“The wedding thing. She was honestly laughing until she brought that up.” Ashley nodded, having noticed the sudden change in behavior in Jack right away. It was obvious that Jack had been thinking about it a lot. “What you wanna do tonight?”
Spencer chuckled at Ashley’s slight ADD. “I don’t know. I’m worried about Jack.” Ashley nodded. “She’s probably going to isolate herself through so we might as well do something together.”
“Wow, you know a lot about Jack for only knowing her a year or so.”
Spencer chuckled. “Actually Ash, I knew that because I’ve noticed how alike the two of you are.” Ashley quirked an eyebrow at Spencer’s statement. “Ash, look at what you were wearing before we went swimming.”
Spencer rolled her eyes. “The only difference between what you and Jack were wearing was the color of your bikinis and even then, the difference is only a couple shades.” Ashley looked down at her bikini and then over at Jack’s, still not wanting to admit Spencer was right. “Ugh, you guys were wearing the same shirt for God’s sake.”
Ashley laughed as the others joined them. Jack chuckled a little, having pretty much overheard the entire conversation. “That was priceless Spence.” Spencer stood there looking slightly shocked until Ashley leaned over and kissed her. Everyone else was a little shocked at Ashley’s public display of affection but Jack just smirked at her two best friends.
After eating dinner, everyone packed up. Once all the cars were packed, everyone stood around looking at each other. “So, who’s going where?” Clay looked over at his sister. “Spence, you heading home or what?”
Spencer lifted her head from where it rested on Ashley’s shoulder. “I’m gonna go with Ash. Will you tell Dad that I’m probably going to stay at her place tonight?”
Clay nodded. “What about you Jack? We’re going to see a movie. Want to come with?”
“Who’s picking the movie?”
Chelsea laughed. “I have final say this time around.”
Jack thought about that but shook her head. “Nah. I don’t want to sit through a chick flick.” Everyone laughed at that and Chelsea shook her head. “What?”
“Well, for your information, the dollar theater is showing Stick It and that was going to be my choice.” Clay and Sean groaned. Chelsea just ignored them and watched for Jack’s reaction.
Jack suddenly smirked. “HELL YEA I’m in! Come on, half naked girls being all flexible and what not? That’s my heaven!” Chelsea blushed but then noticed Clay was smirking and hit him. “Meet you guys there.” Chelsea, Clay, and Sean all nodded and climbed into Sean’s car. They waved as they left.
“Well, have fun drooling over the hot gymnasts Jack Jack.” Jack laughed as Ashley hugged her.
Spencer punched Ashley in the shoulder as she moved to hug Jack as well. “Have fun and if Clay bothers you, let me know and he just won’t get his Easter present.” Jack laughed and nodded. “I’m glad you came out today Jack.”
“Me too. Can I have my keys back though.”
“Oh, Ash has them. She got the soda out of the trunk.”
Jack turned and glared at a grinning Ashley. “Give them up, key chains and all.” Ashley’s grin turned into a frown as she handed over Jack’s keys. “Thank you.” Ashley nodded and started heading toward her car. “Ash, wait.” Jack pulled a small bag out of her pocket. As Ashley stopped and turned around, jack threw her the bag. “Open it.”
Ashley opened the bag and dumped its contents into her hand. It was a rainbow smiley face key chain, just like Jack’s. Ashley smiled again. “Thanks Jack Jack.”
“Yea, well, I saw you eyeing it yesterday so I went and got you one. Figured it would be easier than you begging me for it.” Spencer laughed as Ashley pouted. “You know you wanted it so don’t even try to deny it girly.” Jack turned and headed toward her car. “See ya guys!”
Spencer looked over at Ashley and chuckled at her still pouting face. “Come on pouty. Lets get in the car, its starting to get cold out here.”
Ashley linked her arms with Spencer. “So where you wanna go? Anywhere but my place that is.” The two girls climbed into Ashley’s car and Ashley cranked up the heat. “My mother is home with some guy. She asked me to stay gone again tonight.”
Spencer shook her head and grabbed Ashley’s hand. “I’m sorry sweetie. Let’s go somewhere special then. Let’s go somewhere that we haven’t been before, at least not together.”
Looking back over at Spencer, Ashley suddenly knew the perfect place. She quickly got on the highway and zoomed toward her destination of choice. Spencer looked at her weird, not knowing where she was going but Ashley gave her a small smile to reassure her.
Trees flew by as they drove, seemingly faster than anything else. Ashley had wanted to bring Spencer to this place for a while now, but just never had the courage. It was time now though. Time for Spencer to see this part of me. Spencer tensed up again as she saw a sign informing them they were leaving the Los Angeles area. Ashley let go of the wheel with one hand and quickly squeezed Spencer’s hand before returning hers to the wheel. Spencer hand made its way onto Ashley’s thigh, her intentions completely innocent.
The exit Ashley needed came up and soon they were driving on a dirt road, through trees as thick as a forest. She slowed down as curves came up and a steep, twisty, hill loomed in front of them. Once they reached the top of the hill, Spencer gasped. Ashley quickly parked in front of the beautiful, yet simple log cabin and turned off the car. “My father used to own this place, but when I turned sixteen, instead of giving me a car, he turned the title over to me.”
Ashley climbed out of the car and made her way to the front porch. She turned around and motioned for Spencer to follow her. She slowly climbed out but then quickly caught up. “Whenever my dad would be home for an extended period of time, we would spend at least a week up here, if not longer. Hell, when I was five, we actually got my mother to come, and the trip was fun.” Spencer noticed tears pooling in Ashley’s eyes and pulled her close. Ashley buried her head into her neck, a few of those tears falling as the past was brought into the light. “That was the last fun family trip.”
Jack sat in her bedroom and stared at a small blank space on her wall. Her father wanted a picture of her and her step-sister and that blank space was where Jack planned on putting it. Only problem was, said step-sister still did not know she was a step-sister. Laying back down, Jack was dreading the rest of the day.
After the movie with Clay, Chels, and Sean, Jack had gone home and pretty much crashed in front of her TV with tons of junk food and soda, most of which was still laying strewn about the living room as though she had thrown a major party. A couple hours later she had passed out on the couch.
It was now ten in the morning and Jack was already showered and dressed. Jack was waiting for a phone call. Her dad had officially moved in with her step mother. An angry phone call from an angry stepsister was due any time now.
Ashley woke up in the log cabin and groaned as the sun shined through the uncovered window above the bed. She rolled over and bumped into Spencer. “Umpf!” Ashley grimaced as the little sound came from the body now below her on the floor. “Geesh Ash, I didn’t think last night was that bad.” Ashley chuckled and scooted over so Spencer could climb back up. “Why are all the beds so small?”
Ashley chuckled again. “My parents had separate beds since we all slept in the same room. They didn’t want to be tempted and so they got twin beds, knowing neither of them would want to share.”
“Okay, the place is yours now. Why haven’t you bought new beds?”
Ashley shrugged and slid out from under the covers. “I’ve never needed a bigger bed before. You’re the first person to be here since I owned it.”
“What about Jack?”
“Nope. When we were little she would come with but never after my sixteenth birthday.” Spencer nodded and watched as Ashley padded around the bedroom, wearing only a pair of gray boy shorts and a white wifebeater. “We should probably head back into town. My mom wanted me to meet the boy toy, just not last night.” Spencer nodded and stood up. “I have some clothes in the closest over there. You should pull out some outfits for us while I make breakfast.”
“Okay, I’ll have Lucky Charms please.” Ashley glared at Spencer. “What? Were you actually planning on cooking something?” Ashley nodded. “I’m sorry baby, I just didn’t know that you had real food here.”
“Sure Spence. You just still don’t believe in my cooking prowess.” Spencer laughed as Ashley continued to grumble. “She couldn’t have even pretended to believe I was going to cook a real breakfast.” Spencer shook her head and grabbed Ashley, pulling her into a deep kiss. “Forgiven.” Spencer chuckled and pushed Ashley toward the stairs so she could start making breakfast. “You still want Lucky Charms?”
Jack paced in the kitchen. She had already drank a whole pot of coffee and was halfway through a second. The anticipation was killing her nerves, and most likely causing ulcers from the amount of coffee. The phone suddenly rang and Jack jumped, dropping her full coffee mug. “Shit!” Jack started cleaning up the mess but remembered what made her jump as she heard the phone ring again. “Dammit.” Jack grabbed the phone of the base and quickly answered. “Hello?”
<Um, hey Jack.> Jack stood up suddenly, bumping her head on the counter. She made a face up at the ceiling but made no verbal response, silenced by the shock of who’s voice was coming over the line. <Look, I know you probably don’t want to here from me, but this phone call is part of my twelve step program.>
Jack looked at a nearby stool but decided the floor was probably safer. Slowly sliding down a wall, Jack sat on the cold tile and watched as coffee formed rivers in the grout. “How did you get my number?”
<Your aunt gave it to me.>
My aunt hates me. “What are you call for then? What’s your step?”
<Well, we have to call five people and apologize, the most important call being last.> Jack didn’t say anything, knowing full well what Lauren’s next words would be. <You’re my last call.> Jack didn’t want to believe her but unfortunately, she couldn’t help it. Jack nodded, still not saying anything. <I’m sorry Jacklyn.> Jack silently gasped as Lauren used her full name. Not many people did, cause Jack would jump down their throats, but hearing it from Lauren, always caused shivers to run down her spine Then again, Lauren’s voice always seemed to do that. <I want you to know that I’m not asking for forgiveness but that I just want you to know that I am truly sorry.>
Jack gulped as Lauren finished saying what she had to say. “Okay, you said it. Goodbye.” Jack hung up and just started sobbing.
Spencer sat in the passenger seat, staring at the text message on her screen. She really wanted to talk to Jack but she wasn’t answering either of her phones. “I can’t believe she had the nerve to actually call Jack.” Spencer sighed and looked over at her girlfriend. “I mean, I understand why Madison called her the other day, Madison’s a bitch, but Lauren has to know that this call could very possibly kill Jack. Lauren is the whole reason why Jack moved back here with her Dad, she would have loved to stay in Ohio otherwise.”
“Spence, I’m sure Jack’s fine.”
Spencer shook her head as they came up to her house. “I don’t know Ashley, you never saw the two of them together. Jack was in love.” Spencer saw a flash of sadness go across Ashley’s face. She unbuckled and leaned over, kissing Ashley on the cheek. “Will you please check on her after your whole meeting of the boyfriend?”
Ashley nodded. “Of course I will, and I will also make sure that she calls you.” Spencer smiled and leaned over a little more, this time kissing Ashley on the lips and teasingly sliding in her tongue. When they parted Ashley smirked. “Yea, I know, I’m the best girlfriend.”
Spencer chuckled as she climbed out of Ashley’s SUV. “Hey, try to be nice to the boy toy. You never know, he might be the one who sticks.”
Ashley scoffed. “I have only known three grown men who have truly cared for me, and not in a perverted way. There’s my father, your father, and Jack’s father.”
Jack had called her father after she had calmed down from the emotions caused by Lauren’s phone call. She was now regretting that fact. Jack groaned as her father complained about his new wife. How he fell in love with her, Jack will never understand, but at least he’s happy, most of the time. “Dad, you knew what she was like before you married her. Why did you marry her?”
<I’ve always loved her Jackie.> Jack rolled her eyes at her father’s nickname, yet another one only few people could get away with. <I don’t know what it is about her, but I just always have.> Jack nodded, understanding what her father was saying, she felt the same about Lauren. <I’ve got to go, she should be here soon.>
“Okay, bye Dad.”
Ashley pulled into the driveway of the Davie’s mansion and sighed. She really didn’t want to meet the boy toy and couldn’t understand why her mother wanted her to meet him, unless he proposed.
The gardener waved at Ashley as she approached the front door and gave her a thumbs up. Ashley smiled and waved back. Opening the door, she could hear her other arguing with someone. “Mom, I’m home.”
Both voices stopped arguing at once and Ashley’s mom walked into the foyer. “Hi honey.” She walked up to Ashley and gave her air kisses on the cheek. Ashley sneered a little but it went unnoticed by the self involved woman. “Honey, you remember Alan.” Ashley’s mouth dropped as Jack’s dad walked into the foyer.
Man, I had to mention him last when listing the father figures in my life to Spence. “You got married without telling me?”
Ashley’s mom looked shocked at that. “How did you know we were married?”
“Jack,” Ashley and Alan stated at the same time.
Ashley’s mom spun around and glared at Alan. “I knew your daughter would ruin it. I told you to leave her in Ohio.”
“She didn’t tell me Mom. All she said was her step sister had no clue she had a stepsister.” Ashley stomped past the two adults and dropped down onto one of the leather couches in the living room. “No wonder she could hardly looked at me during and after that whole conversation.”
Alan sat next to Ashley. “Ash, don’t be mad at Jackie. It’s my fault she wouldn’t tell you. I made her promise not to, and you know how she is with promise.” Ashley sadly nodded, knowing Alan didn’t even realize what he was saying. “It hurt her so much not being able to tell you yesterday.” Ashley nodded again but Alan could tell something was still bothering, just not what he thought. “I know you feel betrayed right now, but I talked to her only a few minutes ago and she could really use a friend right now. She’s pretty upset.”
Ashley looked up at Alan, slightly confused but then remembered what Spencer had asked her to do. “I’ve got to go. It was good seeing you again Alan. I truly hope you stick around.” Alan glared at Christine, not believing the woman he loved so much could be so mean.
Jack woke up to a pounding noise. She looked around her living room and then realized someone was pounding on her front door. What is it with people and pounding on my door when I am asleep? She slowly walked to the door and opened it, coming face to face with a very angry Ashley. Uh oh, she was too angry to even call.
“Jack.” Jack stepped aside without a word and let Ashley in. “So I met my new STEPFATHER.” Jack grimaced as she plopped back on the couch. “Why the hell did you not tell me Jack? Huh?” Jack just shrugged, carefully watching her fuming friend. “I can’t believe you Jack. You always say honesty is the best policy but then you go and lie to other people!”
Now this pissed Jack off. She looked up and glared at Ashley. “I did not lie to you Ashley. I have never lied to you and you know it. I will admit, I was wrong in not telling you. If you and I had been alone at any time yesterday, I would have broken my promise to my father, and you know promises mean a lot to me. I figured you wouldn’t want anyone else to see your reaction.”
“What? My reaction to the fact that my best friend kept a HUGE secret from me?”
“NO! Because I tried to tell you before I came back to LA, before my father made me promise not to. I would send you letters or call you but you were never home when I called and I am assuming you never got my letters.” Jack stood up and stomped over to Ashley, using her slight height difference to her advantage. “And don’t you dare ever call me a liar again.”
Ashley was still pissed but Jack being that close, Ashley knew something bad was going to happen. This argument sounded way too familiar. Now to get out of it without repeating the results of the last one. “This argument is going to a bad place and needs to end.”
“What? You realizing that you have no argument?”
Ashley shook her head and started walking away. She should have known Jack wouldn’t make the same realization she did. “Never mind Jack. You won.”
“Oh no you don’t!” Jack grabbed Ashley’s wrist and pulled her back into the living room. “You are not walking away from me!”
Ashley grimaced as her wrist popped a little bit from Jack’s tugging. “We are so finishing this argument.” Ashley gave up her struggle and faced Jack. “Why are you doing this? Why do you always let your mother rule you?”
“She’s my mother Jack. What am I supposed to do? Not care what she thinks of me?” Jack shook her head. “You haven’t let go of my wrist yet.”
Jack looked down and slid her hand so her fingers entwined with Ashley’s. “Don’t let her ruin what we have.” Jack pulled Ashley close, wrapping her one arm around Ashley’s waist and moving their joined hands between their chests. “I love you Ashley, always have and always will. That’s why we wear our rings.” It was just then that Ashley noticed their joined hands were the ones they wore their matching rings on.
Ashley woke up with a groan. It was Monday and time to go back to school. She had known something bad was going to happen and it happened Saturday. Ashley slowly climbed out of bed. She had seen Spencer at all yesterday so she called her late last night and told Spencer that she would be driving her to school.
Jack stared at herself in the mirror as she carefully applied her make-up. Spring Break had been hell but she knew it was only going to get worse once she made it to school. Sighing, she wonder what was going to happen between her and Ashley after all that happened Saturday between them.
Spencer woke up smiling. As much as she loved Spring break and hanging out with Ashley and then with everyone else on Friday, she was glad it was over, although, she really loved a week without Madison. Quickly getting out of bed, Spencer grabbed the outfit she had picked out the night before and ran into the bathroom to get ready. Spencer wanted to make breakfast for everyone and not make Ashley wait long after she herself had eaten breakfast.
Ashley pulled up to Spencer’s house and sighed. Climbing out of her car, Ashley knew she had a major case of the Mondays and more. She smirked as she rang the doorbell, knowing a cure was soon to come.
Spencer opened the door and saw Ashley’s face brighten with the smile that was only ever seen by her. “Morning.”
“Morning.” Spencer stepped aside to let Ashley in and closed the door. “You almost ready?” Spencer shook her head and dragged Ashley into the kitchen. “Morning Mr. C.”
Arthur looked up as his daughter forced Ashley to take a seat at the table. “Morning Ashley. Glad Spencer’s forcing you to join us for breakfast this morning.” Spencer blushed but continued to serve Ashley breakfast. “Hope you like pancakes.”
“Thanks Mr. C.” Spencer glared at Ashley but got no response. She threw up her arms and plopped down into the chair next to Ashley. “Stop being such a drama queen. Thank you for making me a plate Spence.” Spencer smiled and nodded. Ashley sat looking at her plate, waiting for someone to say grace.
Arthur noticed this and picked up his newspaper. “We haven’t been much for saying grace lately Ashley, so go ahead and dig in.” Ashley nodded and started stuffing her mouth with pancakes. “If you can manage to get up early more often, you are welcome to join us anytime.”
Ashley blushed a little as Spencer scratched her nose to hide a smirk. “Thanks Mr. C. I’ll have to try to get up earlier now. These pancakes are delicious.”
“Spencer made them.” Ashley laughed at that, earning yet another glare from her girlfriend as she picked up the empty plates and carried them to the sink. “Believe it or not.”
“She better believe it if she knows what’s good for her.” Arthur slighty blushed but jumped up to avoid his response being noticed. Spencer looked at her dad and then at Ashley who was softly chuckling. Ashley wiggled her eyebrows in Spencer’s direction and Spencer freaked out. “I didn’t mean it that way!” Arthur dropped his plate and Ashley laughed out loud, feeling sorry for Spencer’s dad but not able to help herself. “Let’s go to school already.”
“Bye Mr. C.” Arthur nodded but didn’t look up as the two girls walked out the door. Once out of sight, Spencer smacked Ashley’s shoulder. “Hey, what was that for?” Spencer shook her head as she climbed into Ashley’s car. Ashley just rolled her eyes and climbed in as well. “I was just messing with you Spence. I know you are a great cook and I shouldn’t have made that face.”
Spencer shook her head and smiled at Ashley. “I know. I just don’t really want to go back to school that’s all.” Ashley nodded as she started the car. “Spring Break was amazing, best one I’ve ever spent at home.”
“Ditto.” Ashley grabbed Spencer’s hand. “Actually, more like best Spring Break EVER.” Spencer smiled at that and squeezed Ashley’s hand. “Ugh, I hate Mondays.”
Spencer chuckled at her girlfriend’s grumbling. “You hate all school days Ash, not just Mondays.” Ashley stuck her tongue out at Spencer. “You plan on doing something with that?” Ashley wiggled her eyebrows and smirked. “Dear lord, I guess I walked right into that one. Was hoping you’d be made speechless though considering I don’t talk like that much.”
Ashley laughed. “I’ve heard much worse come out of the seemingly innocent little mouth of yours Spencer Carlin.” Spencer blushed and looked out her window, anywhere just to avoid Ashley’s gaze. “Look there’s the school.”
“Thank god. Aiden will save me from you.” Just then Spencer noticed Ashley had stopped laughing and was staring off to somewhere else in the parking lot. She moved her head around a little, trying to see what Ashley was staring at but failed miserably. “Ash?” Spencer blinked as Ashley silently took the key out of the ignition and quickly got out of her car. Spencer jumped out and followed close behind. “Ashley, are you alright?” The two girls had made it to Ashley’s locker in record time and Ashley nodded as she blindly put in her combination.
Aiden walked up behind Spencer and put his arm around her shoulder. “How are my two best girls?”
“Hey hey. Sucks that Spring Break is over though.” Aiden moved his arm and looked over at Ashley then at Spencer. Spencer just shrugged as she watched Ashley stare into her empty locker. “You alright Ashley?” Ashley nodded again but made no move to greet Aiden as she normally would. “We should probably get to class.” Ashley closed her locker and headed toward her first class, not uttering a single word. “I’ll follow her.”
“Thanks Aiden.” Aiden nodded and jogged after Ashley.
Jack sat in her car, watching all the students mill around. She had seen Ashley’s car pull into the parking lot and decided to wait a few minutes before she got out of her car. Ten minutes later, she was still sitting there, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Jack growled and grabbed her keys roughly before climbing out of her car. She grabbed her bad out of the back and started the short walk to the main office.
Jack could feel everyone’s eyes on her. She was recognized. Rolling her eyes, she trudged along the hallway. Unfortunately, her path suddenly became blocked by a certain feisty Latina. “Get out of my way Madison. I need to get my schedule.”
“Well, see, I just wanted to let you know that nothing has changed here since you’ve been gone.”
Jack looked up at her and pointed at her face. “But your nose looks so different.” Madison glared at the few cronies when they giggled at Jack’s joke. Jack really wanted to bug Madison some more but wanted to get out of the open as well. “Don’t worry. I wasn’t expecting anything to be different. Okay?” Madison’s glare had yet to changed but was now focused on Jack. Sighing, she massaged her temples. “I’ve got to go.”
“Dyke.” Jack shook her head as she plowed through Madison’s followers. “I’m glad you remember the rules Jack,” Madison called after Jack’s retreating figure. “It’ll do you good to actually follow them this time.”
Aiden watched on as Madison harassed Jack, a frown forming on his face. Ashley had e-mailed him, saying her and Jack were good but he had noticed they were avoiding each other this morning. Ashley acting all weird after seeing Jack’s car in the parking lot and Jack not getting out of her’s until Ashley was out of sight. Now, Jack was walking around campus by herself, open to any and all harassment coming her way.
Aiden had followed Ashley to her first class but she didn’t say anything the entire way and went straight to her seat. Something happened between Friday when Ashley sent that e-mail, and today.
Spencer sat in her first class, bored out of her mind. The teacher was just reviewing everything that had been covered the week before Spring Break. Everyone else was either sleeping or staring off into space. So far, the only good thing about today was Spencer had yet to have a run in with Madison, but she knew it was only a matter of time. Spencer was worried about how Jack was handling everything. She was already hearing whispers of what happened. The whispers greatly surprised Spencer though. She expected the whispers to be filled with hate and sordid details of Ashley and Jack’s history together, but they were filled with sympathy for the two girls. Spencer knew she still hadn’t been told the whole story.
Jack sat in the main office, trying to get the rest of the paperwork done to make her transfer back into King High official. She was slightly weirded out and unnerved about today’s happenings. Yea, Madison was her usual bitchy self, nothing new or weird there, but, everyone else was giving her sympathetic looks and a few had even patted her on the shoulder as she passed them in the hallway. She was expecting hateful glances, people pushing her, and name calling, like her last few days here before she left.
Even teachers seemed to be happy to see her. This didn’t surprise Jack all that much. She had always been a good student, and was usual able to keep Ashley under control during school hours. While the two of them were dating, Ashley’s grades were the highest they had ever been. Jack knew that wasn’t all because of her, but was glad she had some hand in it. Looking at the clock, Jack groaned, she probably wouldn’t make it to any of her morning classes, and as much as Jack hated school, she hated making a bad first impression just as much.
Spencer was glad it was finally lunch time as she walked into the quad, looking for her friends. She had yet to see Jack and something was obviously bothering Ashley. Finally, she spotted Aiden and started heading toward him. He started waving but his face went slack and his arm went down. Spencer looked to her left and saw Ashley walking toward her, not paying attention as she bumped in the people around her, receiving death glares as she moved on with apologizing. “Hey Ash.”
“Hey Spence. Let’s go sit with Aiden.” Spencer nodded but saw that Aiden still looked like he had seen ghost. Maybe he saw jack. The way she’s been talking, everyone knew her and no one like her anymore, although, Aiden would be the first person to appear to hate her. “How has your day been?”
“Fine.” Spencer looked at Aiden as they sat down then back at Ashley. “How about you Ash? You seemed kind of out of it this morning when we got here.” Ashley shrugged as she dug around Spencer’s lunch box. “Not even going to ask anymore huh?” Ashley looked up with a smirk and was about to say something before she groaned as a shadow fell over the three friends.
“Well, well, well. It if isn’t the three losers of King High.” Spencer groaned as she realized the shadow was caused by the annoying head cheerleader standing behind her. She looked up and saw Ashley glaring at Madison. “I should have known the three of you would be together. I’m going to assume that there won’t be a fourth freak anytime soon or do the dykes want a threesome?”
“Madison, I lied.” Spencer and Madison turned around to see the new voice as it carried over Madison’s snickers and Ashley’s murmured curses. “I have forgotten the rules. You might want to review me, although, I’m going to assume me telling you to leave them alone would be breaking one of them?” Madison glared at Jack as her lips formed a scowl. “Oh well.” Jack put her books between Spencer and Aiden and stood to her full height. “Leave them alone.”
“Or what lesbo?”
Jack just smirked. “Let me see, Spring Break, freshman year.” Madison’s face fell and she looked around at the crowd that had gathered. “I thought so.” The head cheerleader huffed and stomped off. Jack looked at the two girls, pretty much ignoring Aiden right at this moment. “I should have known that bitch wouldn’t change at all.” Aiden looked over at Ashley and Jack looked at Spencer. “May I sit?”
Spencer looked at Jack and saw the slight bruising around her eye that Jack had been unable to cover with makeup. “Oh my god.” Jack grimaced, knowing her cover up job wasn’t as successful as she thought it was. “Jack, sit down.” Jack nodded and moved her books onto the table so she could sit between Spencer and Aiden. She looked at the table and fiddled with her notebook. Ashley grimaced as Spencer’s gaze swept over to her. “What the hell happened Saturday?”
Ashley and Jack looked at each other, ashamed. Neither of the girls could make eye contact with Spencer. Aiden quietly looked at the three girls and stood up. “I think I’m going to get going. I need to talk to coach.” Spencer nodded and Aiden jogged off. I so don’t want to get caught up in that triangle.
“So, are one of you going to explain what happened? Jack’s got a black eye and don’t think I didn’t noticed your wrist Ashley. Did you two get in a fight or something?”
Jack looked at Ashley again. “You wanna tell it?” Ashley shook her head and started playing with her fingernails. Jack nodded and sighed, preparing herself. It’s only freakin’ noon and I’m about to have a very emotional conversation at school. “Well, Ashley came over after meeting her new step-dad.” Spencer looked at Jack, confused. “My dad kind of married her mom.”
Spencer’s eyes went wide as she realized Ashley was the step-sister Jack had been talking about on the beach. She turned to Ashley. “You punched her for not telling you?”
“No. The black eye came a lot later.” Spencer quirked an eyebrow, looking between the two girls, waiting for one of them to continue. “I will admit, I was pissed she didn’t tell me, but Jack’s got this thing about promises and her father made her promise not to tell me.” Spencer nodded, knowing firsthand about Jack’s promise policy. “Our fight started sounding all too familiar for me and I tried to back out.”
Jack sighed. “Unfortunately, I did not come upon the realization that history was about to repeat itself. I grabbed her wrist to keep for from leaving. That’s why it’s bruised.” Jack looked down at the table, embarrassed at seeing the results of her insistent hold on Ashley’s wrist. “We yelled at each other for a while and then Ashley tried to pull her wrist out of my grasp.”
“I pulled a little too hard and Jack lost her balance. We both fell to the ground. Unfortunately, Jack’s face connected with my hard head.” Jack chuckled a little and Ashley felt a small smirk making an appearance. Spencer looked between the two, knowing this wasn’t the end of the story but wondering if she was going to get the whole thing.
Jack took a deep breath and looked at Spencer. There were tears forming in her eyes. Spencer got scared. “I was in a really bad place Saturday. Lauren called me and I was an emotional wreck.”
Spencer grabbed Jack’s hand to stop her fingers from drumming nervously and Jack’s leg just started bouncing. Spencer rolled her eyes and used her other hand to stop the bouncing. This whole situation would be comically if Spencer didn’t know that a very serious confession was about to come out into the open. “Don’t make me sit on you to stop all this stupid nervous fidgeting.”
Jack chuckled. “I don’t think Ashley would like that very much.”
“Hell right I wouldn’t.”
Jack stopped fidgeting and sadly smiled at Spencer as she moved her hands back to their original place on the table in front of her. “I don’t know what I was thinking but, I leaned in and kissed Ashley.” Spencer’s eyes flew open and Ashley grimaced, waiting for what she thought to be the inevitable. “I am so sorry Spence, you know I would never do something like that without being in a bad state of mind.” Spencer slowly nodded and turned to look at Ashley.
“I’m sorry babe.”
Jack looked between the two and saw what she thought was Spencer getting angry. “Spence, please don’t be angry at Ashley, she pushed me off right away, I swear.” Spencer nodded but still didn’t say anything. “Spencer please, don’t be mad. I don’t think I could handle you hating me right now, although you have every right to be mad.”
Spencer turned and looked at Jack. “You’re right. I do have every right to be mad, but so did you back when the tables were turned the other way.” Spencer chuckled as Jack’s face contorted into a very confused expression. “You don’t remember a very drunk incident back in Ohio, before you left for New York and before I headed here?”
“Lauren.” Jack looked over at Ashley and when the realization about what Spencer was talking about hit her, she busted out laughing. At first, Ashley and Spencer looked at her like she was crazy but they couldn’t help join in and soon the three girls were laughing so hard they could sit upright and were all leaning on each other and the table to keep from falling to the ground. Finally when the three girls had calmed down, Ashley looked at the other two. “Want to ditch?” Spencer looked at Ashley. “What? You don’t have any tests today and none of the teachers are taking attendance anyway.” Ashley looked at Jack. “What about you Jack?”
“I’m up for it. There’s nothing keeping me here. Come on Spence, it’ll be fun and you’ll be actually skipping this time.”
Ashley looked at Jack. “What you talking about this time?”
“Lauren and Jack kidnapped me and told me we were skipping school, I was like, cool, being rebellious for once but then they told me my mom had called the school and told them I wouldn’t be in.” Ashley laughed at the slightly pissed off look on Spencer’s face. She shook her head and just threw up her hands in defeat.
“Drama queen.” Spencer glared at Ashley but her glare didn’t faze Spencer.
“Okay, so we all in. Wanna take my car? We can cruise around with the top down.”
“Take Alice? I have been in Alice in forever, even before all that stuff happened. I so wanted to take off on Friday when Spencer gave me the keys.” Ashley perked up. “This is going to be so much fun. We just have to wait for the perfect moment to walk to the parking lot.”
Jack just rolled her eyes and stood up. “We inviting Aiden?” Ashley and Spencer shook their heads. “Then lets go.” Jack took off toward the parking lot, not looking to see if the others followed her. Ashley and Spencer looked at each other and then quickly jumped up and followed. Once they caught up, Jack looked at the two of them and chuckled. “I was wondering how long it was going to take you to follow me, although, you jumping up like that didn’t look obvious at all.”
Ashley glared at Jack. “You could have warned us you were just going to get up and walk out.” Jack stopped and faced Ashley then opened the driver’s door and climbed in without saying anything. Ashley rolled her eyes and looked at Spencer. “You can sit shot gun.” Ashley walked around to the other side and opened the passenger door then carefully climbed into the backseat.
“You coming or what Spence?” Spencer quickly glanced around and then ran to the passenger side and got in, practically slamming the door shut. Ashley grimaced at the look on Jack’s face but started chuckling as she noticed Jack was counting to ten. Finally calmed down, Jack started the car but before putting it into drive, she turned to Spencer. “Please don’t slam the door. This car is my baby. She must be treated with care.” Ashley threw her head back and laughed as they took off.
Ashley sat back in the empty theater and watched Spencer and Jack. It was obvious the two girls had become pretty good friends the short time they both lived in Ohio or maybe Ashley was just imagining it. She watched as Jack leaned in close and Ashley was suddenly hit with a memory that sent her reeling, having forgotten it.
Ashley sat across from Madison and Jack in the Davies hot tub. It was Spring Break and it could very possibly be the last one with the three of them together. Jack’s dad had been offered a new job in some Podunk town in Ohio and there was a good chance he was going to accept it. Ashley and Jack had been dating for six months now and everything was going smoothly. Hell, who was Ashley kidding? Their relationship was heading downhill and fast. Ashley sighed loudly, causing the other two girls to look at her, concerned.
Jack slid around the hot tub until she was right next to Ashley and grabbed her hand. “Are you okay Ash?” she asked, her words slightly slurred from the alcohol they had stolen from Mrs. Davies not-so-secret stash.
Ashley turned and smiled at her girlfriend. “I’m fine Jack Jack.” She leaned her forehead against the other girl’s. “Just wishing this moment would last forever.”
“Um, hello? There’s another person in this hot tub?” The two girls looked over at Madison and Jack smirked. She whispered something in Ashley’s ear. Madison watched as Ashley’s eyes widened and she nodded. Jack turned and smirked at Madison again as she slowly made her way back to her original spot, although closer to the cheerleader this time. “What are you doing Jackie?”
“I’m not doing anything Mads. Why you all tense?” Madison shuddered as Jack asked that last question right in her ear, her warm breathe tickling the sensitive skin. Madison closed her eyes as Jack ran her tongue along the outer shell of her ear. Pulling back, Jack looked at Madison’s expression and waved her girlfriend over. As Ashley slowly crossed the short distance, Jack positioned herself between Madison’s legs and motioned for Ashley to take over her original spot. Jack looked at Ashley, mouthing ‘Are you sure?’
Ashley smirked in response and kissed Madison’s neck, the muscles tightening as she moved her head to the side, granting Ashley more access. “Mmm, Madison, you taste so good.”
“What are you two doing to me?” Jack lightly ran her hands along Madison’s exposed stomach, causing Madison to moan as the sensations now coursing through her body. She had never felt anything like this before.
“We’re having our way with you Madison,” Ashley answered as she slid behind Madison, her voice husky with desire.
“Do you want us to stop?” The couple stopped all their actions, wanting to give Madison an out.
Madison’s eyes flew open and she looked right into Jack’s eyes. “Would you stop if I asked you to?” Jack nodded. Madison closed her eyes again and took a deep breath. She could feel the intensity of Jack’s gaze and mixed with the feeling of Ashley’s breath against the back of her neck, Madison knew she would regret it if she stopped them now. “Well, I haven’t asked yet, have I?” Jack smirked as she leaned in for a kiss.
Ashley was brought back to the present by the sound of snapping fingers very close to her face. “Earth to Ashley. Are you there?”
“Houston, we have a problem. Your breathe smells like a garlic and cheese pizza.” Ashley smirked as Jack punched her in the shoulder and grabbed the half empty tub of popcorn. “Where’d Spencer go?”
“Bathroom. Where’d you go?” Ashley looked at Jack weird. “Well, you definitely weren’t on this planet. Penny for your thoughts?”
Ashley chuckled. “I know people who would pay a lot more for these thoughts.” Jack quirked an eyebrow, waiting for further explanation. “Spring Break, freshman year.” Jack blushed as Spencer sat in front of the two girls, turning to face them until the movie started. “Hey Babe.”
“Hey, so Jack was able to get you to come back to planet Earth huh?” Ashley stuck her tongue out causing Spencer to roll her eyes. “Where’d you go?”
Ashley chuckled as Jack blushed even more. “Spring Break, freshman year.” Spencer made a face but didn’t say anymore. Ashley leaned forward and kiss Spencer on the nose. “Don’t worry babe. We’ll explain everything soon enough.” Spencer nodded as she noticed Jack wouldn’t look at her.
As the lights dimmed down, Spencer turned around and wished she was sitting next to Ashley. It wasn’t that Spencer did not trust Ashley and Jack, she was just hurt. Ashley should have called Spencer right away Saturday. There must be more to the argument. Spencer looked to her side as she felt someone climbing over the back. “Hey babe,” Ashley whispered with a smile.
“Hey.” Spencer moved her arm rest up and leaned against Ashley. Looking ahead, she noticed Jack had moved in front of her. “Jack, why did you move? I know you can see over us.”
Jack chucked as she turned around and looked at the two love birds. “I really don’t want to have to watch my two best friends macking on each other. For two hours.” Ashley laughed and Jack smirked as Spencer started blushing, the color in her cheeks visible even in the dark theater. “Exactly.” Jack turned around and settled in for the movie. “I better not hear any moaning.” Ashley leaned forward and smacked Jack in the back of the head. Jack just laughed and quickly climbed into the next row before anymore physical abuse was done to her head.
Two hours later, the girls were climbing into Jack’s car. “That movie is totally awesome.” Spencer chuckled at her girlfriends extremely excited state. “Oh my goodness, when the main character lifts herself out of that tub full of ice, WOWZERS!”
Jack chuckled as she started the car. “Well, I guess I’ll drop you guys off at the school.”
Ashley leaned forward. “What you mean? We ain’t done hanging out.”
Jack quickly glanced at Ashley than back at the rod. “I have a doctor’s appointment that I can’t miss.” Ashley nodded and leaned back into the back seat. “Sorry guys.”
“Don’t be sorry.” Jack nodded as Spencer looked back and smiled at Ashley. “It is with Dr. Huddleston?”
“Yea, she had an open slot today when I called her Saturday.” Just the mention of Saturday sent the three girls into a somewhat uncomfortable silence. Jack spent the last couple miles drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Spencer didn’t try to stop her nervous tic this time, knowing drumming fingers were better than a bouncing knee right now.
Ashley sighed as they pulled into the parking lot. She smiled as Jack turned around to face her, a sad smile forming in return. “Today was fun Jack. Thanks for letting us take Alice.” Jack nodded as the couple climbed out of the mustang.
“Spence, can I call you after my appointment? I really need to talk to you about something.” Spencer nodded. “Thanks, see you guys.”
Spencer watched as Jack drove out of the parking lot and then turned to face Ashley. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Ashley looked at her confused. “About Jack kissing you?”
“Yea, that.” Spencer crossed her arums over her chest. “Well?”
“I thought you weren’t angry.”
Spencer took a deep breath and tried to calm down a little. “I only said that to ease Jack’s mind. Also, she had already told me.”
“Yea. Jack sent me an e-mail Saturday night.” Ashley looked down at the ground, ashamed that she hadn’t mentioned the incident before today. “Why did you tell me Ash?”
Ashley sighed. “Jack’s not in a good place and I didn’t want you mad at her. I’ve seen her like this before. It wasn’t pretty and,” Ashley paused, taking a deep breath, “last time I only managed to make matters worse before they got better.”
Spencer looked at Ashley, concerned because of the pain that was showing in her girlfriend’s eyes. “What do you mean?”
Ashley started pacing beside her car. “Jack’s parents were in the middle of a divorce. Jack was living with her mom who had always hated me. Probably because I was the daughter of the woman who her husband was in love with.”
“The woman who broke up their marriage?”
Ashley nodded. “Jack and her mother weren’t getting along at all so Jack was never home. She had practically moved in with my mom and me. Of course, my mother never noticed that Jack was there all the time.” Ashley went around to the back of her SUV and opened the hatchback. She climbed in and motioned for Spencer to follow suit. “Freshman year was when we got in trouble. We started doing drugs and drinking all the time.”
Spencer looked shocked at that information but quickly understood one thing that had been bother her for some time now. “So, that’s why Lauren’s drinking and drug use didn’t bother Jack?”
“It bothered her all right, she just didn’t say anything because she would be a hypocrite if she did.” Spencer nodded, having already noticed that side of Jack. “Anyway, I was the one who had brought drugs into the equation. I found my dad’s stash and stole some.” Ashley paused and took a shaky breath as she pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. “Everything temporarily helped but Jack just got more and more depressed. She even started getting violent.” Ashley looked at Spencer. “Sometimes, I don’t even think Jack was really there when she did some of the things she did.”
“What do you mean?”
“Maggie basically. Everyone thinks we broke up over Maggie, which we did, but Maggie happened months before we broke up. I even told Jack about Maggie a couple days after. That was when she started getting violent. She never really hurt me, but …” Ashley struggled to take a deep breath to calm her nerves. “We started having sex and it was almost always rough. The first time started out with a fight like Saturday, and was at the beginning of Spring Break, freshman year.”
Spencer grabbed Ashley’s arms and unwrapped them from around her legs. “Ashley, look at me.” Ashley shook her head and buried her face in Spencer’s neck. Spencer could feel Ashley’s wet tears against her neck. “Ashley, sweetie, please look at me.” Ashley finally looked up and Spencer’s eyes too became filled with tears at the pain and sadness that was clearly expressed in her girlfriend’s eyes. She wiped away the tears that had fallen to Ashley’s cheek then kissed her temple. “Are you okay to continue?”
“I’m starting to feel like I shouldn’t.” Spencer nodded and pulled Ashley as close as possible. “I think what really made it hat Jack and I wouldn’t work was we became too much like sisters after everything that happened. That’s what stopped the sex.”
Jack sat in Dr. Huddleston’s office. She had wanted this appointment but was now regretting it. Today was a horrible day. Just nothing seemed to go right for Jack. First those stupid run-ins with Madison and then the conversation with Spencer and Ashley. Jack had already e-mailed and told Spencer the outcome of the fight but it was clear that Ashley had not told her and that made the whole conversation very awkward. Jack’s appointment was almost half over and Jack hadn’t said a think other than ‘hello Sara’ when she first walked in.
“Alright Jack, normally I wouldn’t push you to talk. We use to spend whole appointments in complete silence.” Jack smirked a little but it lasted only a second. “Something is obviously bothering you.” Jack nodded and turned to lok out the window. “Are you going to talk about it or did you just want an hour of silence to think it over?” Jack sighed and stood up. She walked toward the window and stared out at the city below. There were some perks to having a therapist on the top floor of a twenty-story building. “You’ve only done that once?”
Sara gave a small sigh of relief, even one word responses were better than silence. She stood and walked next to Jack. “There has only been one time that you have gotten up and walked over to the window.” Jack nodded, suddenly remembering the one time she did it. “It scares me that you have walked to the window.”
“Lauren called me.”
“My ex-girlfriend from Ohio.” Jack leaned closer to the window, pressing her forehead against the cool glass. “She’s in a 12-step program and she called to apologize. It was one of her steps.”
“I take it this break-up wasn’t pretty?”
“She cheated. She knew my history and still cheated.” Jack turned around to go back to her seat but felt she would not make it, therefore she just slid to the ground, her arms hanging limply at her sides. “About two hours after hanging up with Lauren, Ashley came over.” Jack jumped with a small yelp then smiled sheepishly as she pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket. “Sorry, thought I turned it off.
“Is it important?” Jack shook her head. “Okay, now, you said Ashley came over? Are you talking about who I think you are talking about?” Jack nodded. Sara quickly got up and walked over to her desk, calling the receptionist. “Please cancel my next appointment if they aren’t already here. Thank you.” She walked back over to Jack. “Now, you know I would normally sit with you on the floor, but I’m wearing a skirt, so that’s a no go.”
Jack chuckled a little Leave it up to Dr Huddleston to crack a joke at the perfect moment. “Why’d you cancel your next appointment?”
Sara sighed and pulled a chair over. “Jack, last time, and the only other time, you walked to the window and mentioned Ashley in the same session, you tried to commit suicide.” Jack pulled her knees to her chest and laid her head on top of them. “Is it that bad again?” Jack nodded and held out her arms, the sleeves of her sweatshirt riding up to reveal her bandaged wrists. “Jackie,” Sara gasped, shaking her head.
Another person who can get away with a nickname other than Jack. “I was miserable this weekend. Ashley and I got into a fight and I kissed her but she’s dating Spencer and I didn’t want to go back to school today although surprisingly everyone was nice except for Madison but that’s not new with her.”
“Wait a minute, somewhere in that rambling, you said you kissed Ashley?” Jack nodded and finally pulled her sleeves back down. “And Spencer is dating Ashley?”
“Yes and I betrayed Spencer’s trust by kissing Ashley. She says she’s not mad at my but I know she was just trying to be nice.”
“Does she know what happened?” Jack looked up at Sara, not sure what she was asking. “Between you and Ashley, before you moved to Ohio?”
“Yes and no.” Jack stretched out but didn’t move from the floor. “She knows we dated but she doesn’t know everything that happened, at least I don’t think she does.”
“I have a question Jack and I will understand if you won’t want to answer it, although, you not answering it will be an answer in itself.” Jack nodded and waited as Sara thought about how to word her question without being too blunt. “Do you remember everything that happened between you and Ashley?”
Jack sat in her spot a few minutes, just thinking about Sara’s question. “No. There are some nights, hell even days, that are missing because I was so high or drunk, that I just blacked out and I’m sure there are some things I blocked out.” Sara nodded. “Those things are what really scare me.”
“You need to talk to Ashley and Spencer about all of this.” Jack nodded and stood up. “Jack, promise me you won’t do something stupid.” Jack looked at Sara and gulped. “Jack.”
Jack took a deep breath and sighed. “I promise.”
“Thank you.” Sara stood up and hugged Jack tightly. “You are like a daughter to me Jack. You know why I made you promise?”
Jack chuckled and hugged back. “Yea I know.”
“Good. Let me take you to dinner and then you can call Spencer back.” Jack quirked an eyebrow at Sara. “You have her picture come up when she calls or texts you and I saw it. What? You didn’t think I would recognize her just because I only met her once?” Jack laughed as they headed out the office, already feeling better than when she walked in only an hour ago.
Jack sat in her car outside of the Davies’ mansion. Tonight, Jack was going to open up about her deepest, darkest secret that only Ashley and Dr. Huddleston knew about. Some things though, even Ashley did not know about. Jack climbed out of her car and leaned against it. She really didn’t want to go through with this but if she didn’t, Jack didn’t think she would be able to keep the promise she had made to two of the most important people in her life.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Jack jumped and turned around to see Spencer standing on the other side of her car. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” Jack nodded, waiting for her heartbeat to slow down. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, now.” Spencer chuckled. “You guys get tired of waiting for me?”
“No, well, Ashley was which is why I came out here.” Jack chuckled, knowing Ashley was very impatient. “I thought maybe some of the stuff you have to say tonight, even Ashley doesn’t know.” Jack nodded. “You know she’ll love you no matter what, she kind of has to now since she’s your sister.” Jack looked at Spencer. “Well, she is. Com on and lets get inside. Its supposed to start storming soon.”
“Yea right.” Jack and Spencer both jumped as a thunder clap sounded right above them. Spencer gave Jack a look and Jack smiled sheepishly. “Oops?” The two girls started walking to the house when the rain came pouring down from the sky. “Shit!” The two girls started running.
“You know, if you had just agreed with me, the storm would have never came.” Jack glared at Spencer but then slammed to the ground as she tripped over something. Spencer stopped running when she heard Jack groan and ran back to her. “Damn, are you okay?”
“Yea, damn shoelaces came untied.” Spencer coughed, trying to cover her laughter. “You know, I wouldn’t be laughing if I were you.”
“Why is that?” Spencer asked as she helped Jack up. Just then Ashley showed up with an umbrella and helped Jack to the front porch. “You gonna answer my question?”
“Yea, I ain’t the one standing in the COLD rain with a white t-shirt on.” Ashley looked at her girlfriend and realized why Jack emphasized the cold part. “I never saw you as one to not wear a bra.”
Spencer looked down and realized what Jack was talking about “Shit!” She quickly covered herself up and ran inside. “You suck Jack!” she yelled as she ran upstairs.”
“Come on Jack, lets get you in some dry clothes as well.” Jack nodded but chuckled at Ashley’s amused expression.
An hour later everyone was in dry clothes and were all sitting around the fireplace. Spencer was cuddled up with Ashley on the couch. Jack had her back to he two love birds, sitting on the floor and staring into the fire. Ashley watched her friend staring into space, knowing that Jack was carefully gathering her thoughts and forming the right words in her mind.
Ashley had noticed the fresh cuts on Jack’s wrists but didn’t say anything. Ashley was scared. History was quickly repeating itself and she felt like she wouldn’t be able to save Jack from jumping boat this time. “Do you remember that promise you made me before you left?”
Jack nodded but said nothing more. She knew what promise Ashley was talking about and she hadn’t broken it, but she got mighty close. Jack could feel Spencer’s questioning eyes and Ashley’s concerned one. “Spence, there’s a lot about me you don’t know. You’ve asked questions that should have brought some of the things into light but I either ignored the question or babbled around the issue until you forgot your original question.”
Spencer sat up and moved to the edge of the couch. She leaned forward, trying to see Jack’s face. When she realized Jack wasn’t going to look at her, she sighed and sat back. “Why?”
“Some of the answers, I’m embarrassed or ashamed by. Others, I just don’t know them.” Jack sighed and hung her head between her knees. “I know you were always bothered by the fact that I didn’t seem to care about Lauren’s drinking and drug use but I did care and it did bother me seeing her throw her life away. I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything because it would be hypocritical of me. After my parents divorced, I spent most of my time drunk, high, or both.”
Ashley decided now was a good time to cut in. “Don’ get mad Jack, but Spencer already knows some of this. I kind of broke down after you left earlier.” Ashley looked over at Spencer then slowly moved next o Jack. “She knows how that first fight ended.”
Jack looked at Ashley and Ashley gasped at the pain and sadness in Jack’s eyes but most of all, Ashley couldn’t believe the look of utter defeat that showed. She had never seen that look before, especially not in Jack’s eyes. “Well, I guess that’s a good thing because I can’t remember what happened after I said something about our rings. I had dropped acid right before you came over that day.”
Ashley sighed but nodded. “I knew something was off.”
Spencer sat on the couch, quietly watching the two friends. Jack turned and looked at her, terrified of losing a friend over this. Spencer gave a sad smile and slowly got up to join the two girls on the floor. She could tell this moment was hurting both of them. “Jack, I can’t say that you doing the things you did wasn’t wrong, but you have changed and for the better.”
Jack shook her head and looked over at Ashley. “Some of the stuff that’s been bothering me lately, you don’t even know about Ash.” Ashley was shocked by this but she didn’t let it show. “I don’t think I ever lied to you, but I know there are some things that I just never told you.” Ashley nodded and waited for Jack to continue. “Can I get some water please?”
Spencer stood up. “I’ll get it. You want some too Ashley?”
“Please.” Ashley never took her eyes off of Jack. She knew Jack and she had a feeling Jack’s flight or fight reaction would kick in soon. “I’m glad you remember the promise you made me. I got scared when I saw your wrists earlier when you changed.” Jack looked at her hands and tugged the sleeves of her hoodie farther down over her knuckles. “When?”
“Saturday night.” Ashley nodded, understanding what had happened. “I was a complete mess with Lauren calling me and then the fight with you.” Jack looked up at Ashley. “The only thing that stopped me was my promise to you.” Spencer walked back in at that moment and handed the two girls bottles of water. “Thanks Spence.”
“No problem Jack.” Spencer sat back down on the floor. The three girls sat there quietly, staring at the fire. Jack leaned on Spencer and laid her head on Spencer’s shoulder. “Tired?” Jack shook her head and tried o hide a large yawn. “Maybe we should continue this conversation in tomorrow.” Jack emphatically shook her head.
“Spence is right Jack Jack. Let’s all go up to my room and go to sleep. We’ll talk more after school tomorrow.”
“No. I want to say this now. I slept with Madison.”
Spencer’s eyes widened but Ashley just nodded. “I know.”
Jack shook her head and stood up, pacing in front of Ashley and Spencer. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not talking about Spring Break Ash.”
Ashley nodded then stood up and blocked Jack’s path, effectively stopping her pacing. She grabbed her shoulders and waited for Jack to look up at her. “I know.”
“Madison told me. That was when me and her stopped being friends. She told me to hurt me.” Jack nodded and her body started shaking with silent sobs. Ashley pulled her into a hug and let Jack cry. She carefully brought them both to the floor. She could feel the tears running down her face, knowing this secret had been killing Jack, more than anything else. “It’s okay Jack Jack. It’s okay.”
Spencer watched the two crying girls and could feel her own tears forming in the corners of her eyes. She would have never guessed that Jack would have cheated, especially after hearing Jack say she couldn’t say anything to Lauren cause then she’d be a hypocrite. There had to be more to this story. Spencer moved closer to Ashley and Jack. “Let’s go to bed.”
Ashley nodded and her and Spencer helped Jack stand up. Ashley noticed Spencer looking at Jack and realized what Spencer was thinking. “We had broken up.” Spencer looked up with a confused look. “Jack didn’t cheat on me. We had broken up. I don’t remember why but we were.”
Spencer nodded and looked at Jack. “I think she’s asleep.” Ashley looked at the girl her and Spencer were holding up and chuckled. “You think we can get her upstairs?”
“Yea, but let’s hurry before she turns into dead weight.”
By the time they had made it downstairs, Ashley and Spencer were panting and heaving. They carefully set Jack down on the bed then collapsed on the ground. “We are so outta shape. Jack does not weigh that much.” Ashley chuckled as she tried to catch her breath. Spencer sat up then fell back down. “She’s in the middle of the bed.”
“She always would move to the center although I have a feeling she woke up for just long enough to realize the three of us would be sharing a bed and did not want us doing anything.” Ashley stood up and went into her closet. “Do you want pajamas or are you good sleeping in what you are already wearing?”
“I think I’ll just sleep in my socks.” Ashley stuck her head out and glared at Spencer. “What/” she asked innocently. Ashley shook her head and went back into the closet to quickly change. When she came back into the room, she was already wearing pajamas. “What’s up with changing in the closet?”
“Didn’t want to tempt you.” Spencer rolled her eyes and climbed into the bed on one side of Jack and Ashley climbed in to the other side. “Night Spence.”
“Night night Spashley,” Jack murmured then started softly snoring.
Spencer chuckled as Ashley groaned. “I hate it when she does that. She use to call me and her Jashley or some shit like that.”
“I think it’s cute.” Ashley rolled her eyes and kissed Jack on the forehead. “You guys really are like sisters.”
“Yea, we really are.”
Jack groaned and opened her eyes to glare at Ashley. “Would you please stop talking? I fall sleep and then on of you say something and it wakes me up. Give me at least an hour before you start talking again.” Spencer laughed and shook her head. Jack flipped around and stuck her tongue out at Spencer. “Shut up and let me sleep.” Spencer and Ahsley looked at each other and smirked. “Don’t even think about it.”
Ashley looked down at Jack innocently. “Think about what?’
“I saw Spencer smirking.” Ashley shook her head then winked at Spencer and laid back down. Spencer smiled at a grinning Jack. “I’m screwed aren’t I?” Spencer silently nodded. “Damn.” Spencer’s smirk grew and she leaned forward, kissing Jack’s forehead. “What is it with you people kissing me on the forehead?”
“It’s the only part of your face that isn’t ugly.” Jack reached around and smacked Ashley. “Hey, you asked!”
Spencer laughed at the interaction between Ashley and Jack but then yawned into her hand. Jack looked a her and grinned. “Aww, Spencer tired?” Spencer nodded and then buried her head into Jack’s shoulder. Jack blushed and gulped. “Maybe I should sleep in the guestroom.
Ashley wrapped an arm around Jack’s waist. “Relax chica. We’re not heading toward a threesome.” Jack chuckled and relaxed. “I don’t plan on doing anymore sharing.” Ashley leaned closer to Jack so she could whisper something. “I have it bad for Spencer and a threesome would only happen if she wanted it.”
Jack smirked and squeezed Ashley’s hand. “Good for you Ashley. I’m proud of and very happy for you.”
“Thanks Jack Jack.” Spencer smirked into Jack’s shoulder, having overheard the entire conversation and soon the three girls were fast asleep.
Ashley, Jack, and Spencer sat on the bleachers during their shared hour of gym. Class hadn’t started yet and the three of them were making fun of each other.
“Ashley, you need to dress out. You never dress out.” Jack chuckled as Spencer scolded her girlfriend, knowing Ashley would never dress out but would always get an A in gym. “What are you laughing at? You’re going to burn up in what you’re wearing.”
Ashley smirked as the tables were turned onto Jack. “I have shorts on under my jogging pants and I can’t wear a shirt that shows my lower back because Coach would flip out at the sight of my tattoo.”
“You could have worn a t-shirt.” Jack shrugged and pulled on her sleeves. “Jack, what is up? You have been wearing long sleeves for a couple days now.” Jack shrugged again and looked over at the locker room as the door opened, Madison and her cronies arriving just in time.
“They’re like the plastics.” Jack chucked at Ashley’s pop culture reference. “Granted I could never picture Madison playing field hockey.”
“I would love to see her get hit by a bus.” Ashley and Jack busted out laughing. “What?”
“You are so Cady!” Spencer made a face and shook her head. “I would love to see you push Madison.”
“Jack, shut up.” Jack chuckled when she heard the amusement in Spencer’s voice and saw the slight smirk.
“Davies, you need to dress out today. Borrow Jack’s jogging pants. She can run in shorts.”
Ashley groaned. “Take off your pants Jack.”
“You have just been waiting to sat that, haven’t you?” Ashley glared as Jack stood up and took off her jogging pants then threw them to Ashley. “Go change chica.”
“Carlin, Jack, get your butts down here, Davies can change by herself.”
Spencer and Jack quickly headed down to the gym floor. “Why does she call everyone but you by their last name?” Jack shrugged as they joined the rest of the class, but Spencer could tell Jack knew why by the way she was smirking. “You know, I don’t think I even know your last name.”
“Do you know who Mr. Incredible is, and I’m not talking about the movie.”
Spencer looked at Jack as she thought about it. “I’ve heard the name before but I don’t know if its just because of the movie. What’s that got to do with anything?”
Just then Madison walked up to the girls. “Well, well, well. Jackie, you ruining another friendship?” Madison mocked shock. “Oh wait, I bet Spencer doesn’t know about that.”
Jack smirked. “Ooops, you know what? I think she does know about that little affair, or what I like to call a major mistake.” Madison glared at Jack adnwas about to slap her when the coach showed up. “Hey coach.”
“Jack, Carlin, when Davies gets back, the three of you need to come to the track. Ms. Duarte, you should already be heading outside with the rest of the class.”
“Yes coach,” the three girls said in unison. Madison glared at Jack one last time then went outside.
Just then Ashley walked out in Jack’s jogging pants and a sports bra. Jack wolf whistled causing Spencer to turn around. Jack leaned forward. “Hubba hubba,” she whispered into Spencer’s ear.
“Down girl. She’s mine.”
Jack smirked as Ashley reached them. “I know.”
“You know what?” Ashley asked.
“Everything.” Ashley rolled her eyes. “Hey, you asked. Come on, coach is probably going to bite our heads of if we don’t get out there soon.”
Surprisingly, when the girls reached the track, coach looked very happy. “Perfect timing girls. Jack, you’re running against Dennison. We have uneven numbers.” Jack smirked at Aiden as he groaned and the two of them took their places at the starting line. “Ready, set, GO!”
Spencer watched as Jack and Aiden took off, Jack a little behind. “This isn’t really a fair race.”
“I wonder what Aiden did to piss Coach off.”
Spencer looked at Ashley confused. “What are you talking about?” Ashley pointed to the track. This time when Spencer looked, Jack was ahead of Aiden and the distance between them was only growing. “Wait a minute, how?”
“When The Incredibles came out I wanted to start calling Jack Dash, like the middle kid, but Jack Jack is cuter and makes more sense.” Spencer nodded and turned her attention back to the track. Jack was about to cross the finish line. “Sometimes I would feel bad for Aiden when coach would do this but other times he definitely deserved it.” Ashley and Spencer applauded along with everyone else as Jack crossed the finish line.
“INCREDIBLE! I was hoping you still had it in you.” Jack smirked at the coach and gave her a high five. “You have to join the track team this year. We’re not doing so well.”
Jack chuckled. “We’ll see Coach.”
Aiden joined Ashley and Spencer. Ashley looked up at him. “What did you do this time Aiden?” Aiden shrugged. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know what I did. I didn’t gloat because I hadn’t run yet. There really is an uneven number of people in our class.” Aiden turned to see the coach setting up hurdles. “Maybe she didn’t want any of the other girls complaining about an unfair race.”
“Aiden, who’s Mr. Incredible?”
Aiden looked at Spencer, slightly surprised about her question. “Which one? Movie or real?” Ashley raised an eyebrow as she waited for Spencer to answer Aiden’s question.
Spencer rolled her eyes. “Real, duh.”
Aiden looked at Ashley who just shrugged. “Mr. Incredible was the original drummer of Pure Venom. He’s also Jack’s dad.”
“Why’s he called Mr. Incredible?” Spencer asked.
Ashley answered this time. “When my dad first started Pure, he told Alan that he was incredible because of his skills. Alan then said ‘That’s Mr. Incredible to you.’” Jack rejoined the group just then and chuckled as she realized Spencer’s curiousity got the better of her. Ashley rolled her eyes and continued. “My dad told him that would be a great stage name. Well, Alan took it a little too seriously and legally changed his name to Alan Incredible.”
“This is all according to our dad’s of course. My parent’s got married a year later and I was born a year after that.” Jack jumped on Aiden’s back. “Sorry ‘bout that race Dennison, but you know I can’t not give 100%.”
Aiden rolled his eyes as he held onto Jack’s legs. “Yea, yea, yea. You ain’t sorry and I know it. Let me guess, Coach wants you to join track?” Jamie groaned and everyone else chuckled. “You should do it this time Jack. It’s too late to join soccer.”
“Carlin! You’re up with Duarte!”
Spencer looked up and saw Madison waiting at the starting line, smirking. “What the hell? Ugh!” Spencer groaned as she slowly made her way to the starting line as well.
“Pick up the pace Carlin! You’ll never win going that slow!” Spencer jogged the rest of the way and turned to wink at Ashley as she took her place. “Ready, set, GO!”
Jack slid off Aiden’s back and went to sit on the bleachers. “Poor Spence? Have you ever seen her run?” Ashley shook her head and sprawled out next to Jack. “Last semester in Ohio, I had the same gym hour as Spencer. She almost beat me once.”
“No way!” Aiden exclaimed as Madison took a quick lead. Halfway around the track, Spencer caught up. “Madison’s going to be pissed!”
Ashley chuckled at the happiness apparent on Aiden’s face. “You are a little too excited there Aiden.”
“Spencer’s passed her!” Ashley jumped up and started cheering her girl on as she rounded the ¾ mark, putting more and more distance between her and Madison. “Look who’s excited now!”
Ashley stuck out her tongue but then started jumping up and down as Spencer crossed the finish line. “Way to go Spencer! Woohoo!” Aiden and Jack laughed as Spencer blushed. “Get you butt back over here!” The coach approached Spencer. Ashley turned to Jack. “Haha, you may have just lost your spot on the track team.”
“Thank god!” The three friends laughed.
Madison approached the group as Spencer finished talking to the coach and she sneered at Jack and Ashley. “No wonder she has a boy’s name. Her parents were just begging for a butch daughter.”
Jack stood up as Spencer joined the group again, frowning. “No one is as butch as you Madison. Besides, you’re just upset that she beat your ass.” Madison glared at Jack. “What? You know you can’t really pierce me with your eyes.”
Madison smirked evily. “No, but then again, you do that to yourself enough already. That is why you are wearing long sleeves, right?” All the color rushed from Jack’s face. “Another girl dump you? Is that why you’re cutting yourself again? Huh Jackie?” Madison fell to the ground as a fist connected with her jaw. “You just hit me bitch!”
Jack stood over Madison, glaring and flexing her fists like she was going to hit the girl again. Coach ran over and pushed Jack out of the way. “What the hell are you thinking Jack?! It’s only your second day back!” Jack’s whole body started shaking. “Carlin, Davies, calm her down!”
Coach didn’t need to tell them twice, Spencer and Ashley snapped out of their daze and ran over to Jack, leading her away from Madison and over to the bleachers. Spencer looked over at Ashley and saw the tears that were streaming down her face as she tried to sooth and calm down Jack. Spencer looked at Jack’s wrist and realized what Ashley had been talking about yesterday after Jack left them at school, about how things hadn’t been pretty.
Coach came over to the three girls, her face hard as stone, until she saw the tears on Ashley’s face and Jack’s wrists. “Oh Jack.”
Jack sat on her couch as her father paced in front of her. She had been suspended for three days for hitting Madison. Alan was not really angry about the fight. He was angry that instead of talking to someone, Jack had gone back to cutting herself. He shook his head as tears started slowly falling. “I almost lost you before Jackie. I don’t want to get that close again.”
Jack nodded. “I know Dad. I went to Dr. Huddleston yesterday and talked to her.”
Alan stopped pacing. “She make you promise anything?”
Jack could not help but let out a soft chuckle at that. “She made me promise to not do anything stupid like last time.”
“So I guess I don’t really need to worry then. You’d never break a promise.” Alan smiled. “That’s one of your many amazing attributes.” Jack snorted causing Alan’s smile to grow a little bigger. “Is Ashley coming over after school?”
“Most likely.” Alan nodded. “So, what’s my punishment?”
Alan looked at the state his only daughter was in. “You’re probably punishing yourself more than I could.” Jamie looked up and noticed the sad expression on her father’s face. “Get some rest sweetie. I’m sure Ashley will start pounding on the door before you would even have a chance to open it if you were awake.” Jack chuckled as she moved into a better napping position. Alan took the blanket off a nearby chair and covered Jack with it. “I’ll stay until you fall asleep.”
Jack smiled. “Thank you Daddy.”
Alan ended up watching his daughter sleep the rest of the afternoon. He just could not believe how peaceful she looked. Her innocence came back while she slept. Alan heard a knock at the door and sprang up, running to answer it before the person could start pounding on the door. “Spencer?”
Spencer looked up and smiled at Jack’s father. “Mr. Alan. It’s been a while. How is she?”
Alan sighed and shrugged. “As good as can be expected.” Ashley walked up behind Spencer and Alan smiled softly. “I was wondering where you were Ashley. How are you?”
“Hey Alan. I’m doing alright I guess, although, I am not liking this feeling of déjà vu.” Alan nodded as he let the two girls in and grabbed his jacket. “She sleeping?”
“Yea, I told her to get some rest. She’ll probably wake up soon.”
“How long did she get?” Spencer asked.
“Three days. Thankfully they’re starting her over or this could have been an expulsion.” Alan shook his head. “Go on in guys. She’ll be glad to see you, even if you “accidentally” wake her up.” Ahsley smirked and nodded. “I’ll tell your mother not to expect you home tonight.”
Ashley made a face but nodded. “Thanks.”
Alan smiled sadly. “I really wish she had told you about the wedding. Hell, I should have told you. I’m not like my daughter,” he said. “She’d never break a promise she made to someone she cared about, so I think we’re in the clear this time.”
“Dr. Huddleston?” Alan nodded. “I love that woman.” Alan chuckled and pulled on his jacket as the girls walked farther into the apartment. “You’re leaving?”
“Yea, I really need to get back to work. I only stayed until you got here because I did not want Jack to wake up alone.” Alan turned to Spencer. “Spence, it was good seeing you again. Ashley, I’ll see you.” Alan hugged Ashley. “I know you never felt comfortable with your other stepfathers, but I hope if you don’t already, you come to be comfortable with me.”
“I already am.” Alan smiled down at Ashley as she squeezed him tighter. “You should go not. We don’t want you getting into any trouble.”
“I’m the boss. I can’t get in trouble.” Ashley and Spencer chuckled. “Bye girls.”
“Bye sir,” Spencer said.
“Bye Als,” Ashley said with a large smirk. Alan just shook his head and left. Ashley closed the door behind him. “Jack’s dad is one of the coolest dads I know, that’s not mine of course, because he is the coolest.”
“I always liked Mr. Alan.”
The two girls walked into the living room and saw Jack asleep on the couch. “Should we wake her?” Ashley asked. Spencer just shook her head and sat in the chair opposite Jack. Ashley sat on the floor, her back against the couch. She looked over her shoulder. “Jack always hated being vulnerable in front of others. She’d go out of her way to appear otherwise.”
“That’s not always a good thing,” Spencer said softly.
Ashley nodded. “There was a select few that could see the real her. There was four of us at school, then Dr. Huddleston, and of course her father.”
“Four?” Spencer asked.
“Yea, me, Aiden, Chelsea, and at one time, Madison.”
“I never realized you were friends with Chelsea before.”
Ashley shrugged as she moved some hair behind Jack’s ear. “We weren’t really. She was more Jack’s friend then mine. They always had art class together.” Ashley turned to Spencer. “You should see some of Jack’s work if you haven’t already. She’s pretty talented.”
“I’ve seen her photography, but not any drawings and paintings.”
Ashley pointed to a painting above Jack’s fireplace. “That’s hers. She did it at the beginning of freshmen year and the teacher bumped her up to the next class which is when she met Chelsea. I will say, her photography tends to be even better than her paintings, especially her candids.” Ashley turned to look at Jack again and noticed her forehead was creased. “I think we should wake her.”
“Let her sleep Ashley. You know how hard it is for her to sleep sometimes.” Just then Jack started whimpering and Spencer moved closer. “Okay, so maybe we should wake her.”
Ashley sat up and softly shook Jack’s shoulder. “Jack Jack, come on, wake up.”
Jack groaned and her eye lids starting flickering open. “Ashley?”
“Hey chica. Spencer’s here too.”
“Why the hell you wake me up?” Jack asked as she slowly sat up and started stretching. I was having an awesome dream.”
Ashley raised an eyebrow. “You were whimpering,” Spencer said.
Jack turned to Spencer and smirked. “Like I said, I was having an awesome dream.” Ashley chuckled as Jack wiggled her eyebrows, causing Spencer to blush. “Just kidding Spencer, kind of. So, am I infamous yet?” Jack asked.
“You were infamous before your punched Madison,” Ashley said.
“Yea, now you’re just the most popular person in school,” Spencer said with a smirk. “If only a bus had driven down the track.” Ashley shook her head. “Everyone is going to want to shake your hand on Monday.”
“Yea, you had to have set some kind of record. Second day back and you got suspended? Hell, you skipped the second half of your first day.” Jack rolled her eyes at her friends’ enthusiasm. “Had to be some kind of personal record.”
“Nope,” Spencer said with a smirk.”
Ashley’s head swung in Spencer’s direction. “What?” Spencer smirked at Jack as Ashley turned to face her. “Jack Jack.”
“Ugh,” Jack said with another roll of her eyes. “Back in Ohio, I got suspended the first day back after winter break.”
Ashley’s eyes widened. “What the hell for?”
Jack smirked this time. “I got caught skipping.”
“You’re smirking. There’s more to it.” Jack shrugged, but her smirk never faltered. “Spence?” Ashley asked.
“She was caught skipping class in the janitor’s closet, making out with the very religious principal’s daughter. Oh and they were caught by the principal.”
“You go Romeo!” Jack chuckled and shook her head. Ashley grew serious. “How are you?”
Jack sighed. “All things considering, I’m doing okay. I have an appointment with Dr. Huddleston tonight.” Ashley nodded. “I actually have a big favor to ask the two of you.”
“We’ll be there,” both Ashley and Spencer said.
“She called you didn’t she?” Jack asked. Spencer nodded. “I wouldn’t promise to ask which is probably why she called you.”
“Why wouldn’t you promise?” Jack shrugged. “Jack?”
“I don’t know Spence. I was in a mood when I called to set up the appointment.” Spencer nodded. “are you guys hungry? We can order some pizza.”
Ashley looked down at her watch. “Jack, its only three thirty.”
“Yea so? Gym was he first class of the day. My dad and I got home before lunch time and I’ve been asleep since then.”
Ashley stood up. “Well, let’s order some pizza then, by the time it gets here, I’ll be hungry. What time is the appointment?”
“Six,” Jack answered as she too stood up and grabbed the phone. “What kind of pizza do we want?”