Title: Heartbreak and Illusions
Fandom: South Of Nowhere
Disclaimers: Not Mine, spoilers from Say it Ain't So Spencer also
Authors Notes: Please let me know what you all think of this one. My take on a different ending for Say it Ain't So, Spencer. This is gonna be long too.
Feedback: Yes please! Ladyesmeralda@cox.net
I hate Madison. That stupid witch, I know she delights in making me miserable. It can’t be true – can it? Spencer and I were getting closer, I felt it, and I know she did too. I’m almost positive she was starting to like me. Why is she doing this? I know she doesn’t like Aiden, I can see it in her face. Why would she want to go out with him? She said that day at the beach that she thinks she likes girls. Aiden may act like a girl sometimes, but he’s definitely a guy. Okay, sure, she might have been a bit freaked out by the fact that Madison outed her to Glen, but she could have talked to me or tried to deal with it. That’s what Spencer does; she loves to talk about things. She would have come to me first, and we could have talked and worked it out. I know she didn’t ask Glen to tell me to back off. Ashley took a deep breath, put her mask back up and decided to go find Spencer and hear it from the blonde directly. That was the only way she’d believe the foolishness that came out of Madison’s mouth.
About twenty minutes later, Ashley felt the fear continue building inside and she couldn’t even try to ignore it. She’d checked Spencer’s locker, the locker room, all of the bathrooms, anywhere she could think that Spencer might be. The blonde was nowhere around. They hadn’t really talked that much that day either. Was Madison right? She couldn’t be. Trying her hardest not to panic and keep it together, she checked the parking lot. Maybe Clay or Glen had stayed after for something and Spencer had waited with them. She had to work harder than she had in a long time to keep her composure when she realized the Carlin car was gone already. She left? What? Why? She always catches a ride home with me. This is so not good. What did I do and how can I fix this? I knew I shouldn’t have let her in. This is what happens every time. Ashley Davies, use me and toss me away when you’re done.
She was sure the blonde was gone, her instincts screamed it and she wasn’t stupid after all. She still couldn’t silence the part of her that had to take care of and protect the younger girl. Sighing to herself at how stupid this all was, she got her cell phone out and hit the button for Spencer. She waited for it to connect and after four rings, the voice mail picked up. Ashley took a deep breath and spoke after the beep, trying (and failing) to make her voice sound as upbeat as possible. “Spence? It’s me. I just wanted to make sure you were okay since I don’t see you here and you didn’t tell me not to wait for you. What’s going on? Where are you? Are you ok? Call me later, okay?” The dejected brunette walked over to her car and drove home, noting sadly how much different it was without Spencer to talk to and dissect their day. She didn’t even attempt to hold back the flood of tears that began to cascade from her eyes as she drove.
Spencer had gotten Ashley’s message. She could tell that something was wrong and she knew right away that Madison must have gotten to the brunette. Madison was so jealous of Ashley that she would use anything she could to hurt the sensitive girl. UGH! She thought to herself, beating her head against her pillow in frustration. What am I supposed to say to her? Yeah, Ash, I do like you but I’m terrified. I’m afraid to take the plunge and see if it will work or not, so I’m doing the safest thing. I’m going to hook up with a boy who likes me. Oh yeah, just so happens that it’s Aiden. That’s just insult to injury for poor Ash, her ex who I know she still has some type of feelings for and the girl she likes now hooking up? I know our friendship will never be the same and I will miss that most of all, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be Ashley’s girlfriend. Mom and Glen and who knows who else will totally freak out. God, what am I going to do? I have to call her back but I don’t know what to say. Spencer sprawled on her bed, trying to sort out her feelings but getting nowhere.
About an hour after Ashley called, she decided to return the call, having no idea what she was going to say to her friend but knowing she owed her an explanation of some sort. She wanted to kick herself at the relief that flooded through her when Ashley’s voicemail picked up, which was very unusual. In the few months that they’d been friends, Spencer could count on the fingers of one hand with fingers to spare the number of times her calls had gone to Ashley’s voicemail. Ashley always picked up for her, or called her back within a few minutes. “Hey, Ash. It’s me. Sorry about today, I just caught a ride home with Glen. I have to eat dinner in a few minutes and then I have plans later tonight. Call me tomorrow or I’ll call you, okay? Talk to you later, have a good night.” Yeah, Spencer, she’s not going to think anything’s wrong when she hears that. God, you are such a moron. How are you going to fix this? Just then, before she could continue driving herself crazy with the thoughts that wouldn’t get out of her head, her mom called her for dinner. Luckily, her parents would be leaving soon after dinner, so hopefully she would be spared the third degree. She’d worry about what to do about Ashley later.
A few hours later, she was with Aiden at the Hollywood Bowl, making out. God, this feels so wrong. Being with Aiden would make my life so much easier though. What am I going to do? He probably has no idea I’m not into it; he is a guy. Ash never called me back. I hope she’s ok. What am I going to do? What if I screwed the friendship up? What if I screwed everything up? Do I care? Of course I do. Spencer kissed Aiden again but it felt so empty to her. It reminded her of being back in middle school when they used to practice kissing on pillows, their hands, dolls, whatever was around. There was almost no emotion or passion in the kiss. Thoughts of Ashley came flooding back, especially the night that they’d taken turns kissing Aiden and had admitted to thinking of kissing each other. She knew kissing Ashley, or being kissed by Ashley would be totally different. The older girl practically screamed sexiness from every pore of her body. Spencer had no doubt that Ashley was tender and gentle as well and she yearned to sample the other girl’s lips almost as much as her fear held her back. That night in Ashley’s room, they had been so close. She had been pissed at Aiden too, but she thought Ashley should have known better. Spencer didn’t want her first kiss from a girl to be a game or a joke, and she was sure she wanted that kiss to be with Ashley. She just didn’t know how to deal with everyone else in her life to make that happen.
“Why don’t you stop pretending you’re here with me and talk to me?” Aiden pulled away and looked Spencer directly in the eyes.
“What do you mean?” Spencer decided that her best course of action was to play dumb.
“I don’t know why you’re here with me and I so shouldn’t be questioning this, but you and Ashley are my friends. I can’t take advantage of you. I couldn’t live with myself and we both know Ash would kick my ass if she found out. What’s going on, Spencer?” Aiden smiled as he sat up next to the blonde and put an arm around her.
“Being with you just makes sense! There won’t be questions, no one will hate me, I won’t have to deal with my mom.” Spencer looked down at her hands, trying to fight back tears. “But then I’m hurting the person who means most to me in the world too and losing my best friend. God, what am I going to do?” She started to cry as Aiden wrapped his other arm around her in a hug.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but more than anything else, I do want Ash to be happy. I’ve seen the way you guys are together, Spencer. You do make her happy. You just need to figure out what you want and screw everyone else. Maybe keep your relationship quiet for a while until you’re ready?”
Spencer looked down at her hands for a few minutes, turning everything over in her head. After arriving at the only possible solution, she looked up at Aiden sheepishly. “Can you drive me over to Ashley’s, please?”
“Why not? I don’t think I’m whipped nearly enough yet.” He began to gather up their things, smiling to show Spencer he was just teasing as she moved to help him.
When they got in his SUV, she called Ashley. “Damn, her voicemail again. She’s never gone this long without calling me back. I’m thinking Madison might have told her we were going out tonight. I’m sure Glen told her, knowing him.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that he told Madison. How long has it been since you called her?”
“She called me after school. I went home with Glen and Clay cause I didn’t know how to tell her you and I were going out tonight. I called her back like an hour later and she didn’t answer.” Spencer looked over at Aiden with naked fear in her eyes.
“She’s probably fine. You know Ash; when she’s hurt or upset, she retreats. We’re almost there, you can see for yourself then. Do you want me to go in with you or wait in case she doesn’t want to talk to you?”
“No, you can go home. Thanks, though. I screwed this up; I have to fix it. She’s going to talk to me whether she wants to or not.” Spencer stared down at her hands before looking back up at Aiden. “You know her better than I do. Do you think I can get her to trust me again?”
“Ashley has issues, but she also has a good heart. I think she will understand, maybe not at first. Yes, I do think she’ll trust you again, but it may take some time. Just be patient with her.” Aiden turned into Ashley’s driveway and looked over at the blonde. “Here we are. Good luck and call me if you need me.”
“Thanks!” Spencer got out of Aiden’s car and headed to Ashley’s door. Luckily it was unlocked. She didn’t hear any sounds coming from the house, which was weird. Anytime Ashley was home, especially when she was upset, she turned to music. She headed up the stairs and froze at the door of Ashley’s room as she took in the scene in front of her. Ashley was passed out on the bed and there was an unfamiliar girl rifling through Ashley’s wallet. She felt all of the frustration, anger and tension over the situation come bubbling up an made no effort to stop as she screamed at the girl. “Who the fuck are you and does Ashley know you’re ripping her off?” Even as she went off on the stranger, she was a bit concerned as she noted that Ashley didn’t even twitch at the sound of her voice. She decided to get the girl out of there first so she could focus on the reason she’d come.
“Let me guess? Spencer?” The girl smirked at her as she turned to face her.
Spencer noted for the first time that the girl looked similar to herself but somewhat slutty as well. The buttons of her shirt were unbuttoned and her breasts were practically hanging out. Spencer took a deep breath as she tried to remain calm, reminding herself that she didn’t own Ashley, as much as it hurt her to see the evidence of what had happened that night. She clenched and unclenched her fists in an internal battle with herself even as she spoke. “How did you know?” She wanted nothing more to go beat this girl until she was bloody and bruised on the floor but she didn’t want to waste any more time. She wanted to go check on Ashley and help her.
The girl stood up and began to walk toward her. “You called a bit ago. Ashley didn’t want to pick up the phone but she talked about you all night. When I picked her up at Grey tonight, she promised we’d have fun, but I don’t call listening to her go on and on about you while watching her drink until she passed out fun.” The girl flashed an irritated look at Spencer as she continued, “I don’t really care if she knows I’m ripping her off or not. Stupid slut knew why I was coming here. I gave her my good weed and coke too, not to mention some E. If she’s not going to give me something in return, the least she can do is pay me for the trouble.”
“Okay wait a minute, she did coke, weed, E and drank?” Spencer looked closer at the bed and floor near the bed. There were several bottles, all about empty.
“Oh yeah, we raided the liquor cabinet as soon as we got home. She did I should say. I didn’t want to stay here, so I didn’t drink. I can’t imagine she’s going to be feeling too good when she wakes up tomorrow though. Have fun!” The girl flashed a sarcastic smile as she left the room.
Spencer had already forgotten about the girl as soon as she heard that Ashley had drunk most of the bottles herself. There were 5 there, most empty, but of course she had no way of knowing how much had been in them before. She ran over to the bed with her heart pounding in her chest as she carefully sat down by Ashley. The dark haired girl didn’t move at all at the motion created by Spencer’s action. “Ash? Ashley, please wake up and talk to me! Yell, scream, anything. I’m so sorry!” She put her hand on the unconscious girl’s arm and shook it gently. “Ashley, can you hear me?” There was no response at all and ice-cold fear began to sweep over Spencer’s body. She took a breath to try and calm down and checked Ashley’s pulse. To her relief, it was there, just extremely weak. She put her face close to the other girl’s, trying not to gag at the overpowering scent of alcohol there, and felt a little better when she felt Ashley’s breath on her cheek. She reached up and gently placed a kiss on Ashley’s forehead while she tried to decide what to do. “Why did you do this, Ash? Why didn’t you come talk to me and tell me how you were feeling? I was an idiot, but we’ll save that for later. Hmm, I have no real idea how much she drank and I’d rather be safe than sorry. She’s probably going to get really mad at me, but at least she’ll be alive to get mad. I wonder how I can convince Mom and Dad to let me stay with her if she’s not better by the time they get home tomorrow? Shaking her head, realizing that she needed to get help before it was too late, Spencer reluctantly dialed 911 on her phone and summoned an ambulance to help her friend. She figured she could worry about that and deal with the consequences later.
After the call, she quickly ran into the bathroom and got a cold washcloth. Bathing Ashley’s face yielded almost no reaction, causing the fear to continue spreading over Spencer’s body in cold waves. “Come on, Ashley! If you can hear me, you need to wake up, dammit! You’re not a quitter! I’m here with you now, wake up and talk to me! We have to work this out!” She squeezed Ashley’s hand tightly, but nothing elicited a response from the other girl. She was out cold. Spencer tried not to let the terror overcome her. She wanted someone to go to the hospital with her, but she didn’t really have anyone she could call. There was no way she was going to have Aiden there, even if he had been Ashley’s friend. Spencer didn’t want to do anything else to hurt the brunette. Just before the paramedics arrived, she realized she would need to answer questions at the hospital. As they came in, she gave them some room to work, grabbing both their purses and cell phones. She figured she might be able to reach Ashley’s parents or someone for her that way.
She quickly moved back to the bed and was happy to find a place she could be close to Ashley and not disturb the medics. Spencer grabbed the brunette’s hand and squeezed it tightly. “Ash, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. You scared me when I couldn’t wake you up, so I called for help. I’ll be as close to you as I can and I promise I’ll find a way to get in to see you as soon as I can. Too bad I can’t use mom to my advantage this time.”
“Who’s your mom?” One of the medics looked up, having overheard Spencer’s last comment.
“Dr. Paula Carlin, but she doesn’t like Ashley that much. She thinks she’s a bad influence on me and this isn’t going to help. That’s totally not fair though, this is my fault.” Spencer choked back a sob, knowing she had to be there to help Ashley right now.
“What’s your friend’s name and age and do you know what she took?”
“Ashley Davies, she’s 16 and all I know is that she took some X and some weed and coke. I have no idea how much she drank but I have a feeling it was a lot. Is she going to be okay? I’m going with her in the ambulance. I have no idea how to reach her parents and I’m not leaving her alone.”
“Thank you. I’m not sure, but we’re going to do whatever we can to help your friend. Did she take anything else?”
“I’m not sure. She’s been like this since I got here, right before I called you.” Spencer didn’t even try to keep her anxiety at bay.
“That helps us a little. We can give her some Narcan to flush the drugs out of her system, but they’re probably going to have to pump her stomach there, if she drank as much as it looks like. We need to get her to the hospital now; her vital signs are weakening rapidly. We don’t normally let people ride with us but we’ll make an exception for you since you’re Dr. Carlin’s daughter.”
“Thanks so much! I have no other way to get there and she needs me there.” Spencer allowed a few tears to fall before regaining control.
In minutes, they had Ashley in place on the stretcher, a mask attatched to her mouth to help her breathe and wires to monitor her vital signs. From the way the paramedics looked at each other and hurried to get Ashley out of the house, Spencer knew it wasn’t good. She quickly followed them down the staircase and into the back of the ambulance. When she was seated next to Ashley, she again reached out and took the unconscious girl’s hand, gently stroking the hair away from her face. She continued talking about anything she could think of, just trying to let the other girl hear her voice – wanting to do anything she could to keep the dark haired girl with her. She wished more than anything else in the world for Ashley to wake up and yell at her. “Ash? You’re going to be ok. You have to be ok. I hope you can hear me. I just wanted to tell you that we’re on the way to the hospital now and I’m going to do whatever I can to stay by your side until you wake up. I’m not gonna let my parents take me away from you and leave you all alone there. You need to get better quick so we can talk and fix things, and I’m sure you’re going to want to hear what I’ve got to tell you. I’m so sorry I hurt you; I really didn’t mean to. I wasn’t thinking clearly. Don’t go! You’re a fighter, why should this time be any different?” Spencer tried to blink back the tears as she debated whether she should say what was really on her mind or not. She looked over at the monitor attached to Ashley but couldn’t figure out what it said. “Um, how is she?”
“She’s holding her own, but she’s not doing well. We need to get to the hospital quick so they can get the alcohol out of her system before there’s permanent damage. That might help, but in the end it’s going to be up to her. Do you know how long she was out before you called for help?”
“I’m not sure, no.” Spencer looked down at Ashley’s still form sadly. Hearing the medic confirm her worst fears didn’t do anything to ease the feeling of terror inside her. She decided she needed to just say what she wanted to say right then. She could so see her mother storming into the hospital and taking her somewhere where she would never see Ashley again. The thought of the girl she’d fallen in love with being abandoned alone and unconscious in the hospital made her shiver. What if Ashley died before she got to see her again, talk to her, tell her how she really felt? “Ash? We’re almost to the hospital. My mom’s not going to be there, at least I don’t think so, but just in case she finds out where I am and takes me away before I get to see you, I have to tell you something. I need you to know this and I’m hoping it might help you fight.” Spencer took a deep breath, noticing the paramedic sitting across from her suddenly becoming very busy studying the monitor to give her more privacy. “I finally stopped being stupid. I love you. You need to hurry and get better so I can tell you and see your face when you hear me.” The monitor started to beep a little and Spencer jerked her head up and gazed at the paramedic with fear in her eyes. “What was that? Did I do something wrong?”
“Not at all. Remember when I told you that her vital signs were weak? She’s responding to your voice. Keep talking to her.” The paramedic smiled over at the anxious girl. “Relax, it’s okay, you’re helping her.”
“No it’s not! My mother hates her and I’m not a relative, we’re not even together yet. I have no idea how to reach her dad and her mom’s a raging bitch who couldn’t care less about her. How am I going to be able to spend time with her after we get to the hospital? If I’m not there, she’s not gonna have anyone that cares about her. What if she decides it’s not worth it to hold on?” Spencer started to give into the tears.
Just then, the ambulance pulled into the driveway of the hospital. “Don’t worry. I think my sister is working today. She’s an ER nurse and she has connections; as do I. You’d be surprised what we can do. Just let me get her settled and as long as I don’t get another call, I will have a word with a few people. Don’t give up.”
“Thank you so much! Did you hear that, Ash? Hopefully they won’t keep me away from you. I’ll get in to see you as soon as I can though, even if I have to sneak in. Rest and get better. You have to fight!” Spencer leaned up and placed a gentle kiss on the brunette’s lips and squeezed her hand tightly one last time just before the ambulance doors opened. She didn’t recognize any of the people waiting to whisk the stretcher away and she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
* * *
While Spencer was waiting for word on Ashley, a friendly looking nurse helped her fill out the paperwork for the older girl. “You’re Dr. Carlin’s daughter, right?”
“That’s right. I’m Spencer. I’m really worried about Ashley.”
“We’re going to do everything we can for her. Do you know how to reach her parents?”
“I think their numbers should be in Ash’s cell phone or her purse. I’ll try calling them in a minute. Do you think there’s any chance I can see Ashley later? I don’t want her to be alone. She needs me and I need to be with her.” Spencer looked down at the floor, not wanting the nurse to see the tears brimming in her eyes.
“We’ll see what we can do. You’re not family, so we’re not supposed to let you, but we might make an exception since you’re Dr. Carlin’s daughter. Of course, if you reach her parents and they give you permission, that would be fine too.” The nurse smiled at the distraught blonde. “I’ll come back with a report for you as soon as I can, even though I really shouldn’t even do that. How long have you been together?”
“What? Together?” Spencer decided she didn’t care that she hadn’t talked to Ashley about things anymore and she didn’t care what anyone else said or thought. She was finally going to do what she wanted. She was almost positive her dad would support her. She knew she wanted to be there for Ashley; to help her recover. Even the thought that the vivacious brunette wouldn’t get past this was too much to bear. “We’re not, not yet anyway. I was too stubborn to realize how I felt until tonight. I was going to Ashley’s to talk to her when I found her.”
“That’s horrible. I bet having you here will help her recover that much faster though.” The nurse smiled reassuringly at the distraught girl.
“I hope so. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to get in to see her though. My mom hates her because she thinks Ashley is a bad influence on me. She doesn’t see what I see or understand Ash the way I do though. Her mom and dad are who knows where. I’m not even sure if I’m going to be able to reach them. I don’t know what to do.” Spencer started to cry before catching herself, remembering she had to stay in control for Ashley.
“One thing at a time. Do you want me to try calling them?” The nurse placed a hand on Spencer’s shoulder, trying to calm her.
“No, I’ll do it, thanks. I want to try and make sure they’ll keep me in the loop.”
“I understand. I’m going to go back and check on her then and get this info into her chart. Someone will come out as soon as they can with an update. Let anyone at the desk know when you reach her parents.” The nurse smiled and touched Spencer’s arm one more time before she headed back behind the doors of the emergency room.
Spencer sighed as she picked Ashley’s phone up. She decided to try Ashley’s father first, figuring he would react better. She called from Ashley’s phone, not knowing if the man would pick up his phone for an unfamiliar number. She hit send with shaking hands after calling up the number and waited with baited breath through three rings.
The voice on the other end of the line didn’t sound familiar to Spencer. “Um, hi, um, Ashley’s dad?”
“No, this is his manager. Raife is doing a tour over in Europe this week and he left his phone with me since it doesn’t work over there. Who are you? It says this is Ashley but you don’t sound like her.”
“I’m her best friend, Spencer. Um, I need to get in touch with him. Ashley’s – sick – and I don’t want to call her mother.” Spencer tried unsuccessfully to keep her distaste for Ashley’s mother out of her voice.
“Look, Spencer, I’m sorry. Raife is totally into the tour; I really need him to finish this over there. I’m not about to pull him away for whatever stupid stunt that spoiled brat of his has pulled this time. I’m sure everything will be fine. Tell her she can try to call him next week if she wants. He flies home on Sunday. I have another call I need to take, good luck.”
With that, the manager hung up, leaving Spencer in shock and having no choice but to call Ashley’s mother. She took a deep breath before dialing the phone.
It was snatched up after two rings, by a voice more venomous than she’d remembered from their previous encounters. “What the hell do you want this time you stupid slut? I’ve told you and told you not to bother me when I’m with my friends. I thought I left you enough money to handle anything that happened.”
“This isn’t Ashley.” Spencer was unable to keep her voice from shaking. She had no idea how anyone could talk to their child that way. It made her want to go find Ashley and hold and soothe all the bad away. The reasoning behind the brunette’s actions was even more apparent now and Spencer mentally slapped herself for her stupidity. “This is her friend, Spencer. We’re at the hospital. She’s –“
“What did she do this time? I don’t have all fucking day, just tell me so I can get on with my plans.”
“She drank too much and got really high and they’re back there pumping her stomach now. They’re not sure if-“ Spencer’s voice trailed off.
“God this is just what I need right now. I told that stupid bitch if she fucked up one more time that she was gone. What fucking hospital is she at?”
Spencer felt the dread wash over her body. She was terrified that she’d just cut herself off from Ashley permanently. She knew there was no way she could ask Mrs. Davies if she could visit her friend. “She was brought to the USC University hospital.”
“Fine. I’ll speak with the doctors and make what arrangements need to be made.” Mrs. Davies abruptly hung up the phone. Spencer stared for a minute before she let everything overtake her. She felt hopelessness wash over her in waves and she gave in to the sobs that she’d been holding back since finding Ashley earlier that night.