Chapter 2 – Aftermath

“Ashley…”

I shrink under Shirley’s disbelieving expression.

“You left her with your rental car in a prison parking lot to go get drunk…? Seriously…?”

She really doesn’t believe it? I mean, it’s my modus operandi. But then she shakes her head and I know that this isn’t the case, and that’s exactly why she’s so disappointed in me. It does seem a little unfair now that I think about it, if I were a reasonable person. But I wasn’t reasonable at that moment. I was falling the fuck apart. And I sure as fuck didn’t ask Spencer to be there.

“It was a bad day,” I say.

“Then why not let Spencer help you instead of getting loaded and getting on a plane?”

“Well…,” I search my brain for anything that might excuse my behavior, knowing that there really isn’t an excuse.

She’s right.

I panicked and hurt Spencer and just left her there to deal with my fallout. And walking away knowing that I’d done that to her only made me angrier, so I wound up grabbing a taxi, going back to the hotel, stuffing my bag, downing that bottle of patron, and heading straight for the airport.

I don’t remember much after boarding…

Shirley’s smug because she knows that I have no response, so I pull one out of my ass.

“At least I had the wherewithal to come here. That should make you happy.”

“You also puked on the carpet last night.”

I cringe. I can still smell it and it’s only worse when she points it out. It makes my stomach roil and I’m forced to swallow thickly.

“God, don’t remind me.”

“You also woke up at some point during the night and wrecked our kitchen making mac n’ cheese.”

My stomach flips and my mouth waters in gross anticipation.

“Please stop…”

“I’m glad you feel sick. It serves you right.”

Shirley’s voice is semi-teasing and I know that she’s not really mad or malicious, but I do feel bad about wrecking the kitchen and then regurgitating patron soaked mac n’ cheese on the carpet. I close my eyes and rub at my tender temples looking for a relief that I’m not so sure exists. My head feels like there’s castanet dancer squawking and twirling around up there in her Tuti Fruiti hat, and my mouth feels like it’s stuffed with cotton that’s been soaked in rubbing alcohol and sour cream.

Ultimately, I feel like utter shit, both inside and out, and I know that I was a superb bitch to Spencer yesterday, but…

But nothing, really.

I’m not even sure what happened with her. I was just so out of my comfort zone.

And my emotions…

I don’t really have words for it all. I only know that haven’t hurt that badly since the day that CPS carted Kyla off and I had no idea if I’d ever see her again.

God, Spencer…

I glance down at my phone. It’s almost dead and I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I doubt that it will magically glow back at me from a touchscreen. And yet I keep looking every few seconds. It’s kind of like visiting the fridge at night over and over again but always walking away empty-handed. 

And the screen is sticky. I really don’t want to know why…

“Still clutching that thing for dear life, I see,” Sam says as she sits on the couch with Shirley and hands her a mug of coffee.

Normally, I’d kill for a cup, but not today. Even the smell is nauseating.

“What,” I ask.

“When you got here last night, I kept trying to get you to just lie down and sleep it off, but you were texting someone and nearly gave me a black eye when I tried to take it from you,” Sam clarifies.

“Who?”

She shrugs and takes a sip of her coffee.

I frown at the screen. I don’t have a voicemail, email, or text notification. I definitely don’t remember talking to anyone.

Maybe Kyla?

I click the messages icon.

“I didn’t ask.” Sam continues. “I managed to get some water in you, and then went back to bed. And not only did I step in your mess this morning, I was late to work because I had to clean it up.”

I look up and give her my most pathetic expression. “I’m so sorry, Sam.”

She smirks over the rim of her mug.

“I don’t think that color or smell is ever coming out,” Shirley adds tossing her arm over Sam’s shoulders.

I slouch further into the sofa. “I’ll pay to have the whole place re-carpeted.”

Shirley sighs, finally taking pity on me. “Oh, come on. You know we feel compelled to give you a hard time.” I nod. Everyone has their hobbies, I suppose. “And you know that we only care about you. What you did was cruel and reckless, Ash.”

I nod again. I agree, really I do, but I know I’ll do it again. I always do. I suppose it’s one of my hobbies. I notice that the screen’s about to go dark and click open the first name on the messages list to keep the phone awake. I don’t recognize a single bubble of this ever lengthening conversation.

And of course, it’s a conversation with Spencer.

Just fuck…

I sit up sharply, every inch of my body protesting the movement but I don’t care as I continue to scroll up to the last normal message that I remember.

Aftermath 1

I run a hand over my face and feel my stomach grow even more sour. God, not only did I treat her like shit, but I scared her. Given the timestamps, these started right after I left her in the parking lot. I remember it buzzing but I ignored it.

Aftermath 2

I have no idea when I started answering, but it must have been right after I boarded the plane because I’m noticeably soused in my response.

For fuck’s sake, her name’s at the top of the screen…

Aftermath 3

Aftermath 4

Seawitch? Seriously? I mean, I use that word a lot now that Spencer’s back in my life, but never with Spencer herself. Did my phone really have to give me away? I sigh. I guess I can’t be too indignant. I don’t even know what I was trying to say so I can’t expect the phone to.

At least I’m so incoherent that Spencer won’t get the reference.

Aftermath 5

Aftermath 6

Damn you auto correct…

Aftermath 7

Damn my tequila soaked brain…

Aftermath 8

Oh, God…

Aftermath 9

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…

Aftermath 10

Aftermath 12

I frown at the next timestamp. Did I black out? I wrack my brain and try to remember something, but it’s all a blur of shapes and shadows.

Aftermath 13

 

Aftermath 14

Aftermath 15

Aftermath 16

Aftermath 17

Aftermath 18

I’m actually not so sure about that. I mean, this is a disaster, but it almost feels good to know that I was honest for once, even if it was in the worst of ways.
Aftermath 20

Just fuck my fucking life up its fucked, fucking ass…

Aftermath 21
And I don’t want to read on. That is probably the most honest thing that I’ve said in years. Part of me needs to hear her say it, to make it real so that I can accept it. But the other part of me knows that I’m not going to like the answer, and no amount of knowing will lessen the sting or make it okay.

This is so bad. I’ve laid it all out there, finally, and there’s no way that I have a chance with her now. How am I going to fix this? I pinch the bridge of my nose and determine that I need to read to the end, as painful as it may be, and see how we left things before I can even attempt a salvage mission.

Aftermath 22

Aftermath 23

And at this point, I might tear the hair from my very temples because: first, Spencer admitted that she still has feelings for me that will never go anywhere, and second, any doubt that she misunderstood my use of Seawitch earlier just flew the fuck out of the window.

I’m never drinking again…

Never fucking again.

Though I may need one now.

Aftermath 24

That’s it. She hasn’t responded since. I feel a little dumbstruck. And it must show on my face because Shirley and Sam are looking at me as if they expect me to sprout a third head.

I mean second head…

Fuck, just one head doesn’t seem to work right. I couldn’t imagine having more than one, especially with the double time tempo Tuti Fruiti’s adopted up there.

The fruit wearing cunt…

“Ash, who was it,” Shirley asks.

I scroll back to the top of this catastrophic conversation and toss the phone to her before putting my pounding head between my knees. I really just want to curl up and die right now… It’s moments or years later when I finally look back up at them to see them both in states of uncomfortable merriment. Shirley’s looking away with a smirk on her face and Sam’s got a hand to her mouth to hold it in.

A surge of righteous anger sparks through me.

“You think this is funny?”

They look at each other for support but it’s nearly their undoing. It’s Shirley who’s able to speak.

“No, no, not funny, persay. Just…”

And here she has no words that aren’t lies so Sam steps in after clearing her throat.

“What my lovely wife is trying to say is that it’s not funny, it’s hilarious.”

I gape at them as they finally start to laugh.

“It’s so doomed, isn’t it,” Shirley asks Sam.

Sam nods enthusiastically.

“It’s cute though, don’t you think,” she asks.

Shirley pulls her wallet from her back pocket and starts to riffle through the bills inside.

“My money’s on six months.” She gives me a shrewd glance. “Actually, make that eight. She’s the most stubborn person I’ve ever met.”

“One year, even,” Sam says as she takes the twenty that Shirley offered her before pulling another bill from the same wallet to cover her half of what appears to be some sort of bet.

Shirley looks at her nonplussed and she shrugs her shoulders.

“We have joint checking,” Sam reasons.

Shirley glares at her for a second before taking the money back.

“Okay, then let’s raise the stakes.”

Sam smiles almost erotically. “My, my, aren’t you confident?” Shirley puffs out her chest a bit and Sam leans in to nuzzle her cheek. “It’s sexy,” Sam murmurs.

Shirley blushes and clears her throat as Sam starts to toy with the buttons of her blue oxford collar.

“Laundry,” she nearly squeaks.

Sam shakes her head.

All the housework,” she purrs back.

Shirley scoffs nervously at her. “You’re on.”

“For a month,” Sam adds, undoing the top button.

Shirley stares at her for a moment before a grin so roguish it nearly gleams overtakes her face.

“Done.”

They kiss each other and I have to look away because, well, gross. I mean, I’m not fazed by it. I’ve seen them be affectionate more times than I can count. They’ve never been shy. But they’re like parents.

Besides, I’m having a crisis and their response was what, some sort of elaborate mating dance or high stakes poker? And if so, how did it involve me?

More importantly, why did it involve me?

After several disgusting moments of forced blindness and no way to make the sounds stop, I glance back but they’re still kissing so I try to get their attention.

“Ahem…” Nothing. “Come on, you guys…”

Nothing. Well, Shirley moans a little and Sam giggles.

Ugh…

“HEY!”

That did it, although reluctantly. They pull apart with a loud smack and cuddle up together to sip their coffees and smile at me.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I gesture at the wallet. “What just happened?”

Sam’s eyes twinkle and Shirley’s grin is shit eating.

“Eight months,” Shirley says.

“Twelve months,” Sam corrects.

And in unison, “You and Spencer will get back together.”

And now it’s my turn to laugh, although it doesn’t last long. It quickly becomes a wince of pain, but it’s worth it. It’s rare that I get to make fun of these two. And this is the dumbest thing that I’ve ever heard escape their mouths.

And that’s saying something.

“You have no idea how wrong you both are.”

They’re still smug as they just silently watch me like two overly patient parents with a misbehaving child.

“I’m serious.”

“So are we,” Sam says.

They’re supremely confident, so I decide to entertain them.

“Okay, Spencer said that she still has feelings for me.”

They nod.

“She also said that she’s in love with the Seawitch.”

Shirley chuckles. “So that’s what that meant…”

Sam shoots Shirley an expression that chokes her.

“Stay on topic, please,” Sam says a little too nicely.

Shirley straightens up, all business apparently.

“We’ve both moved on,” I say with finality.

And do I ever feel that finality. It’s like a spear through my ribs.

“Ash, in all of the time I’ve known you, you’ve never even dated,” Shirley says.

I squint my eyes at her. “I was dying. Forgive me for not feeling all that sexy.”

“That was only the first couple of years. What excuse do you have for the last two,” Sam asks.

I blow out a breath and even I can smell how putrid it is. In fact, I’m certain that it came out green. God, I need a shower, a toothbrush, a bed, and maybe a teddy bear or a binky.

I rub at my temples. “That has nothing to do with Spencer. I just haven’t… found… anyone… interesting.”

And I don’t even know what I’m saying. Interest doesn’t take much when you’re horny as fuck. Women are attracted to me, and it’s nearly killed me to walk away from some of those exceedingly hot and easy offers. Hell, I got very close once to giving in, but I couldn’t follow through, no matter how much I wanted to.

Oh God, how I wanted to…

“Girls throw themselves at you all the time, Ash,” Sam mocks, knowing everything I just thought as if I’d said it out loud.

“No they don’t,” I defend weakly.

We all know that’s a lie. Kate, Shirley, and Sam are the only ones who know that I haven’t been able to seal the deal since Spencer. Jac and Jon think that I’m some modern day lesbian lothario. They act as if I wear a rainbow cape. The look Shirley gives me over the glasses perched on her nose makes me feel like I’m made of two-way glass.

“You know that we’ve been to a couple of your shows, right?”

Yeah.”

“I once saw two girls…” Shirley holds up two fingers. “Count them, two gorgeous, young blondes…” Sam elbows her in the ribs and she immediately tucks her tail like a scolded puppy. “Anyway, two blondes asked you to sign their bare breasts, Ashley.”

I shrug. “Yeah, so?”

She rolls her eyes and slumps back on the sofa as if affronted by my sheer stupidity.

“They invited you to their hotel room,” she continues in a bored tone.

I shrug again. “I didn’t want to.”

That’s another lie. I really, really, really wanted to.

She shakes her head and laughs. “That’s a load of malarkey and you know it. You made out with both of them, did body shots with them, and just when they wanted to get serious, you petered out. I know for a fact that you wanted to.”

Okay, now I feel a little offended.

“So I’ve had opportunity and I’ve turned it down. Do I have to sleep with every skank that’s willing?”

“Of course not,” she says in exasperation. “Ash, you aren’t asking the important question here.”

I look to Sam, silently pleading for her to just get to the fucking point since Shirley’s too frustrated.

“The question is why,” she says with a kind smile.

Oh, well that’s easy: it just felt wrong. It felt like a betrayal, not just of Spencer, but my feelings for her. Besides, even if I could get past those feelings, the most that I could have would be casual encounters.

No way would I let someone fall in love with me.

That’d be too cruel.

So I just gave up on love and sex altogether, choosing instead to fap myself nearly blind.

Don’t judge.

Ugh…

Why are we talking about this, especially with all that’s already happened, and when I feel like I just went twenty rounds with Ronda Rousey?

Oh, right, they think that we’re going to get back together. And they think it’s funny that Spencer and I don’t see that. And maybe the situation is funny, but not because we’re clueless. It’s the very notion of a reconciliation that’s a joke.

I’m the joke, because even if it were possible, I couldn’t do that to her. I have a year. She deserves a long, full life.

They’re still watching me, waiting for that answer that I don’t want to give. But it’s futile. They know. For some fucking reason I’m an open book to those who can see past my bravado.

“Ash,” Sam says gently. “If you love her, and she loves you, nothing, not even death, can stop it.”

What can I even possibly say to refute that?

I can think of only one thing: “She’s in love with someone else.”

Shirley shakes her head and Sam leans forward to put a hand on my knee.

“You can love more than one person in a lifetime. But the honest truth is that the lightening kind of love only strikes once.”

She squeezes my knee and leans back into Shirley, and I see it, that lightening kind of love. I know that it’s real because it’s right in front of my face. It’s in a gentle but complicated gaze shared between two people who aren’t two people at all. They’re just pieces of a greater whole.

“We don’t doubt that she loves the Seawitch,” Shirley continues and Sam gives her a warning glare. “We just know that what you two have is stronger. Unfortunately for Sea- men, uh, Carmen, it’s only a matter of time.”

They have no idea how much I want to believe them, but I can’t. They just don’t know what I know.

“How can you know that’s true for us? You’ve never even met Spencer.”

Sam links her fingers with Shirley’s.

“Well, first, you’ve been celibate for four years, despite the fact that women are all over you like kittens to cream,” Shirley says.

“Celibacy is for the devout, sweetie, and somehow I doubt you’re religious,” Sam adds.

“And, you made her admit her feelings,” Shirley continues.

“And just like you, she ran,” Sam says.

“You scared her,” Shirley adds with a knowing nod.

“And I don’t think that it’s because you’re just all that intimidating,” Sam mocks gently.

God, these two… they’re like my fairy gay godmothers, from hell. First they convince me to live and now they’re trying to convince me that there’s hope. I want to believe it, so much that my eyes are starting to water.

Fuck me…

“I can’t do that to Spencer,” I murmur, tasting tequilla soaked defeat on my tongue.

“You can’t what, love her,” Shirley asks.

I roll my eyes at her and she chortles.

“Honey,” Sam says. “If she chooses to deny the truth, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life. Being truly happy with you, even if it’s only for a short time, she’ll never regret that.”

“It’s kind of like being gay,” Shirley adds with a shrug. “Eventually, you just can’t deny it any longer.”

“Ash, what have you got to lose if you at least try?”

She’s got me there. Whether they’re right or wrong, there’s nothing to lose at this point except Spencer’s friendship. But then, that’s just not working anyway.

“I keep running.”

They both nod.

“So how do I fix that?” I point to the phone. “How do I fix any of this?”

“Well, first,” Shirley says, disentangling herself from Sam to get to her feet. “You smell like Runyon Canyon after a light rain.”

She grabs my hands and yanks me to my feet, and I can’t help but groan. With an over-zealous shove, I nearly trip over the chair as I stumble towards the hallway.

“Go get a shower. You know where a fresh toothbrush is, and then get some sleep. You’ve got eight months to straighten your act up.”

“Twelve,” Sam corrects.

I give them both my most hateful expression to which they just chuckle. I start my walk of shame to do as I’m told, but Shirley’s voice stops me.

“Ash?”

I turn back to her and she walks up to me, putting her hands on my shoulders.

“You need to decide if Spencer’s worth it.”

And with a pat, she goes back to her wife on the couch and leaves me with no idea what I even believe anymore. Everything’s just up in the air. My very heart’s up in the air, and I know that it’s going to come crash landing to the ground.

But no matter how far I might manage to get away from it, it’s still going to hurt. I have to find a way to stop running, because for all that I don’t know, I’m absolutely certain of one thing: Spencer’s worth anything.


I’m not sure why I chose this coffeehouse again. Spencer isn’t working anymore, so there’s no reason to be on this side of town with all of the pretentious movie snobs. I guess it just seemed familiar.

I still can’t believe that Universal threatened to fire her when she requested time off, dying friend or not. But then, I guess I really can believe it. This town is full of assholes on a timetable and life is cheap in the face of convenience.

Why Spencer wants to be in this industry is beyond me. She’s too good for them. But, it’s what she wants. So what did she do? She put in her notice and finished her two weeks, giving up what she wants for me.

That’s how much she loves me.

And I don’t deserve it.

I keep hurting her, but I just can’t stay away from her. She’s like the air or the sunshine. And then I catch myself thinking things like that and feel like an even bigger idiot. I’m beginning to believe that love is irrational. It’s like the minute that it happens, all sense of reason is flushed, and what’s worse is that your heart toggles the handle happily.

Whoosh – and life becomes one giant shit storm.

I take a sip of my coffee and try to calm myself, though I know that it’s impossible. I have no idea how to face her. It’s been a few days since I left her standing in the carnage of my great escape, and getting ahold of her proved to be challenging. She only answered back today. Now I just need to figure out what to say to her. Shirley and Sam were useless on this front. They want me to lay it all on the line, but I can’t do that. She’s not available.

It would be wrong.

It would be disrespectful.

So I’m left with groveling.

Do I apologize for being honest?

Do I apologize for forcing her to be honest?

Am I even sorry for that conversation?

I know that those texts were sophomoric, but alcohol knows no pride. What it does know is how to drop the barriers in a piss poor manner. It’s a little ironic how I tried to bury all of my feelings in Patron when true to its nature all it did was raise my freak flag to full mast.

And there she is, wafting through the door like some hauntingly beautiful apparition that makes my heart flutter. Her eyes find mine almost unerringly and there’s this moment where I can tell that she’s debating the merits of this meeting as much as I am.

And as she gets closer, as her eyes get bluer, the edges puffier, her hair sloppily pulled back, I realize that she sees me, really sees me, and it makes me uncomfortable. It’s not because I want to hide from her. I’m irrationally in love, not stupid. I’m fully aware that there’s no hiding it from her anymore.

No, I’m uncomfortable because something’s off, something’s different, and something inside of me knows that I’m not going to like it.

She sits quietly and it’s awkward. And for once I’m thankful for the interruption of a the waitress because it gives me just a few more seconds to decide whether or not to play that entire conversation off as drunken idiocy or refuse to deny the truth of it.

She orders a plain, black coffee and I feel a little perplexed. She hates plain coffee. The waitress leaves, plunging us back into that fragile stillness that neither of us seems willing to break as if by some unspoken agreement.

Her hands rest daintily on the tiny café table and she’s so close that I can almost feel her warmth, yet everything about her feels so far away.

Even when Carmen’s around, she’s never this far away.

Her fingers start to fidget and I find myself staring at them, trying to figure out what it is that has me so unsettled. But all I can think about is how I’ve always liked her hands. They’re feminine but they’re still strong. They were always such a comfort. And I remember how perfectly my smaller one fit into them. I remember because I don’t have a choice, especially not now when I know that she remembers it too.

The waitress delivers the coffee and Spencer takes a short sip, making an adorable face at the bitter taste.

“Carmen saw the texts,” she blurts quietly.

The very air shatters with her raspy voice, and I close my eyes to swallow hard. This changes everything. For one, I know that I’m going to lose her. There’s no way that Carmen will let us be friends now. And second, maybe she didn’t run away scared from that conversation like Shirley and Sam said. Maybe she just got caught.

What do I say, sorry? I say it so much that it seems cliche.

“I’d say I’m sorry, Spence, but I always am and it never seems to help.”

She doesn’t say anything, choosing instead to stare into the murky water in her mug.

“But mostly, it would be a lie.”

Well, I guess the decision is made. I’m not going to deny it, even though it means losing her. Because, let’s be honest, I’ve already lost her.

She looks up at me and for once I don’t care if I drown.

So be it.

“I’m sorry for leaving you like I did the other day, and I’m sorry that I had to get drunk to say what I couldn’t face sober, but I’m not sorry that I said it. It was honest. And that’s why I couldn’t stay there, with you.”

She takes a sip of her coffee and the stillness around us tightens in. I suppose that it’s only fair for me to be the one to break it this time.

“Are you sorry for what was said?”

She leans back in her chair and plays with a sugar packet on the table. And I feel something solidify in my stomach as several minutes pass without an answer. Or maybe her refusal to speak is the answer.

“It’s okay, Spence.”

She drops the sugar a little too roughly.

“Carmen forbade me to see you.” I stare at the table and nod. “And I can’t blame her.”

I nod again, only this time my throat feels tight. It’s coming – that riptide that will pull me completely under and leave me with no sense of which way is up. But at least this will be an honest break, a clean one, if there is such a thing.

“I decided to just stay away from you, but after a couple of days, I realized that I can’t be with her.”

I look up at her, concerned that I’m hearing things. But her gaze is steady.

“I also decided that I can’t be with you either. I need to take some time and figure myself out before I can be any good to anyone. And even if that weren’t the case, Ash, it still couldn’t be you.”

I can’t help but agree that I’m a fucking wreck, even as I feel like the very sky is falling in on me. But why couldn’t it be with me if she loves me?

“But you said that you-”

“You run when things get hard, and I can’t be with someone like that anymore than I can be with someone who controls things like her.”

I blink a few times and stare at my cup, trying to process what I don’t want to hear.

“I also can’t do this push me, pull me thing with you anymore. You ask me to come with you, to suspend my life for a full year just for you, and when I do, you start pushing me away.”

I don’t look at her because I can’t face the fact that I’ve made her cry yet again.

“I’ve decided that this year isn’t just about you. It’s about me too.”

She stops to swipe at her face.

“The truth is that I love Carmen, but it’s never been enough. I never got over you, even when I’d convinced myself that I had. It hasn’t been fair for either of us, least of all her. And I just can’t grieve over you anymore. I just have to figure out how to stop, to let you go…”

Wait, let me go…?

“I thought-“

“I guess I should at least thank you for forcing me to come to terms with everything that was staring me in the face.”

I really want to leave right now, leave and go somewhere safe to try and hold my very guts inside because she’s just eviscerated me so thoroughly. But for some reason my feet feel nailed to the floor, my arms roped to the table. Maybe I know that if I run, I prove her right. Or maybe I know that she deserves to finish what I started and I love her enough to endure it for her, even if it’s only once. Either way, I just want it to go faster, because she’s twisting this knife far too slowly.
But then I want time to pause, to slow down, because I know for sure that once we say goodbye, I won’t see her ever again.

“I-I understand.”

Or at least I want to understand.

“Do you?”

I frown at her and she shakes her head a little angrily.

“I don’t think you understand at all, and that’s the worst part of all of this. You just don’t see what’s right in front of you.”

What’s right in front of me? Her, I see her. I’ve made that clear, right?

I guess not.

Fight or flight…?

“Spence, if this is about you coming with me this year…”

She laughs humorlessly. “See what I mean? You just don’t get it.”

“Get what? I didn’t ask you to break up with Carmen. Is that what you’re talking about? I’m sorry that our conversation upset her-”

She runs her hands through her hair stopping to grip it at the temples.

“This has nothing to do with Carmen.”

“Okay…”

“Look I know you don’t understand. I know it. It just pisses me off, to be honest.”

“Why don’t you just tell me?”

She laughs through her tears.

“If I could just tell you it would make things so much easier. But you’ve already been told. You already know, you just haven’t figured it out yet. And I can’t help you with this, Ash. I wish I could, but I can’t.”

And now I’m frustrated.

“How can I fix something when I don’t even know what’s broken?”

“Just look around you, Ash. Everything’s broken. You can literally take your pick.”

I really want to run right now, but I’ve shifted from being nailed down to gripping the table as if it will keep her here with me.

“I-I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to do.”

She shakes her head and stands, and the room loses all oxygen, as if a black hole has opened up behind me.

She’s leaving…?

“I don’t want you to do anything.”

She riffles through her purse for some change and tosses it on the table with a hollow noise that reverberates in my chest.

“Spencer…?”

“You asked me to let you go, Ash. So, I’m going to give you what you want.”

She turns and she weaves her way to the door, and I feel frozen. I did ask her to let me go. I just hadn’t considered that by doing so, I’d have to let her go too.

I-I can’t do that.

I asked for this, and she’s giving it to me.

But I don’t want it anymore.

I’m shaking as I shoot up from the table and toss some bills. My limbs feel stiff but I race out the door and nearly plow down some yuppie idiot yelling into his Bluetooth. Movement catches in the corner of my eye as he berates me, and I just barely catch a glimpse of Spencer rounding the corner to my right.

“Spencer!”

My lungs can’t find the air, so my shout goes unnoticed.

Or maybe she’s ignoring me.

“Spencer, wait!”

I sprint around the corner and see her opening her car door.

“Spence, please wait!”

She throws her purse into the passenger seat and I grab her arm to stop and turn her. And for once, I can see just what she meant when she said that it’s all so broken. It’s in everything: the corner of where her lips meet, the tangle of fissures in the ocean of her eyes, the hollow feeling in my chest that’s leftover from the first time that I lost her.

I want to erase it all, smooth it out and make it whole. And something in me knows that she’s just given me the keys to that kingdom, the push that I need to finally choose a door and walk through it.

Maybe she’s challenging me.

Am I ready to meet that challenge?

What will it take?

What do I even have left to give?

There has to be a reason for all of this, right? It can’t all have meant nothing. It can’t all be beyond reproach.

I tug her to me and my hands find the warmth of her neck and the small of her back, my thumb finds the soft skin of a cheek and the gentle slope of an ear. And her mouth, God, it’s just like I remember it: sweet, warm, and velvety soft.

She tastes like peppermint and passion, and promises and secrets. And for a moment, I’m fumbling through this heady haze that she’s weaved around us with a gasp that pulls me into her deeper.

And she kisses me back, fervently, feverishly, and I remember only the good. I remember the sweetest of touches, the most delicate of scents, the most intricate of tastes – the most tender, the most simple yet profound of joys.

I remember what it was like to love her and to be loved by her, to stay in one place and let it all in.

But then she’s pulling away, and she’s gazing at me with watery eyes, and I remember what it is to run and keep it all out.

“It’s not enough,” she says and her voice breaks.

I want to shout that she’s wrong, that love is everything, but if I truly believed that none of this would be happening. She’s hurrying to get into the car, but mostly she’s just running away from me.

And it terrifies me, because this isn’t her. This is her pain, her heartache, finally reaching that point where it’s pushing her into the same sad state that I’ve trapped myself in. And maybe this is why she’s rejecting me: she doesn’t want to end up like me.

But she’s not like me. She doesn’t give up. She bends; she doesn’t break. God, please, don’t let me have broken her completely.

Somehow, despite what I now know, I feel lighter, freer, even as I realize that I’ve ruined her trust, that I’ve pushed her away. I’ve pushed too much, too far, and now it’s all falling over an edge.

It’s like everything’s changing so damn fast that I can’t even remotely keep up with it.

And it’s all me.

How can I not keep up with myself, understand myself?

If I can’t, no one can…

But I have to try, even when I’m not sure what I’m trying for. And I’m only just able to grab the door before she shuts herself into the car that’s she started.

“I get it, Spence.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.”

“You think a kiss fixes anything?”

“No, not at all, but it gives me something to run towards instead of always running away.”

She shakes her head and I can’t tell what she’s thinking because I can’t see her face. She’s hiding, but I do finally get it. I got it the minute that she left the table. This is what I’ve been doing to her. This is how it feels to put everything that’s sacred out there on the ocean only to be left wanting on the shore.

She needs me to break open, to swell and burst. She needs me to let her in. She needs me to show her my insides.

“Come with me this year, Spence.”

She shakes her head harder.

“I can’t, Ash.”

“All that I have, all that I am, is yours, Spence.”

God, that broken voice is so unlike her, but then, the girl that I used to know is deeply buried by the person that I became.

She needs this year too, to get her fire back.

“I wish that were true.”

“Let me try, Spence. I’d give anything to fix this.”

She’s still crying, but she seems to have calmed some. Several minutes pass before she finally speaks again.

“I need to move forward, Ash.”

And then she’s looking at me, stabbing me, penetrating everything soft inside of me to leave me bleeding with her words.

“What if I need to do that without you?”

The knife in my gut digs a little deeper, and my voice gets a little rougher, but I mean it when I say, “The only thing I’ve ever wanted in this world is for you to be happy, Spencer.”

And there, I see something alight inside of her, and I know that if she believes nothing else that comes out of my mouth, she believes this one thing because she knows that I love her. She can’t deny it any more than I can.

“I wanted to come with you, Ash…”

“Then come.”

“But it’s your turn to let go of me.”

Those words, my words, they’re like a wall that appears out of nowhere while running. It hurts, it hurts more than I ever thought possible. I did this. Why did I do this?

“What does that mean, Spence?”

“It means that we both need to focus on ourselves. What I do right now has to be about me, and the same goes for you.”

“Okay.”

“It means that we have to be friends or nothing at all.”

Nothing?

No… no, no, no…

“I want to be your friend, Spencer. I’ve been trying. I just don’t know how to…”

She laughs wryly. “I get it. Believe me.”

Tears sting my own eyes, but I’m not going to let them fall. I would have if this had gone differently. I was finally ready, but now… now I don’t think that she wants to know what’s in there anymore.

“I can’t not love you, Spencer.”

She swipes at her eyes and sniffles.

“Just… boundaries, Ash. I get that you feel how you feel. No one can help that. But you can’t act on those feelings, not with me.”

I understand that she wants to put herself together after all that I’ve done to fuck up her life, but I have a feeling that if her answer had been different during that conversation, Carmen wouldn’t have given her the ultimatum.

None of this would be happening.

The fact is that she loves me too.

And maybe that’s enough.

“Okay…,” I say.

“You definitely can’t kiss me like that again, Ash. If I’m going to get through this, I need you to promise.”

She turns her head and looks up at me. “I need you to promise.”

I’d do anything for her, or at least I want to say that. But I can’t even stay put long enough to let her in. I’m not sure what to do about it, how to stop myself, how to control my impulses. And I’m definitely lost when it comes to rules. I’ve always lived under the belief that rules were made to be broken. In fact, knowing that I can’t do something makes me want to do it all the more. But this is Spencer. I have to find a way to keep her and stop hurting her. And if these rules will help me accomplish that, then I’ll do everything that I can to walk within the lines.

“Okay, Spence. I promise you that I won’t kiss you again…”

The words leave my mouth and I know that it’s an empty promise. That will never work for me.

All I want to do is kiss her.

All of the time.

Someday I will kiss her again. Whether it’s the end of all of this mess or the beginning of something better, I don’t know, but it’s going to happen, because she’s her and I’m me and there’s no way to escape that.

“I promise that I won’t kiss you again, at least… not until you ask me to.”

For all that I do to fuck things up, I never make promises that I can’t keep. And she knows this. In fact, she’s relieved by it, so relieved that she closes her eyes.

“Thank you,” she murmurs.

And at this point, I feel like something in me just died. Maybe it’s hope, or just the hope of her. But oddly enough, I feel like I can finally breathe. Each intake hurts, but my broken lungs are at least working again.

Something in me starts to panic and as I scan her, looking for the cause, I realize that her car is packed to the gills.

“Spence, where are you going?”

She sits back in the seat and stares out of the window, her expression so emotionless and void that it serves to intensify my panic.

“I don’t know yet. I’ve been staying in a hotel.”

I swallow hard. “Not The Tarte again?”

“The Starlite.”

“Spence, I-“

“Don’t, Ash. You know I can’t.”

I crouch down and turn her face to look at me, hating myself for how dull her eyes are.

“I know that it would look bad, but you’re in this situation because of me.”

She shakes her head and I take one of her hands.

“Spence, you don’t even have a job because of me.”

“I made my own choices, Ashley.”

“Because you love me.”

She blows out a breath and I plead a case for reason.

“I’ll abide by any boundary you set, but don’t ask me to leave you with no money and nowhere to go.”

She’s quiet for a long time.

“And what about the dogs,” I ask.

Sobs overtake her and I’m not sure if this is a no-no, but I lean in and hold her, and she doesn’t fight me.

“I don’t know what to do about them. Carmen told me they have to be out of there by tomorrow. I can’t take them to the hotel…”

“Please let me help you, at least until you figure out what you want to do.”

It takes a few minutes and a few pathetic sighs, but I eventually feel her nod against my shoulder.

“But just for a night or two.”

I can’t help but smile at her.

“Look, you’re in no shape to drive. Why don’t I call Kyla and she can drive your car home while you and I go get your dogs?”

She leans back and pats my hand in a very platonic fashion, making it clear that she needs some distance. It’s with a heavy heart that I oblige.

“Thank you,” she says.

Reaching into the car, I pull the keys from the ignition and get to my feet to hold a hand out to her. She takes it and once she’s on her feet, I hug her again. She’s a little stiff, but I need to make another promise that I’ve never made to anyone before.

I turn my face into her neck and whisper, “I’m not going anywhere anymore. I promise.”

She starts to sob again, but relaxes into the embrace, allowing me to just hold onto her. I have to hold onto her if I’m going to keep this promise, but maybe just making it will be enough to keep me honest.

So much is happening, and for once I’m looking for an anchor, not a sail. I want her to be that anchor. I need her to be, even if she can only ever be my friend.

I’ll find a way to live with that.

I’ll find a way to stop hurting her.

I’ll find a way to slow down, to stay still in the storm.

I know that it will take time, but this weekend is a fresh start. I have no idea how this weekend will play out with all that’s happened this week, but maybe the snowy Canadian scenery will clear our heads and our hearts so that we can have an actual shot at figuring ourselves out.


Don’t forget to rate this chapter and leave feedback!


Continued in Chapter 3 – Is Canada a real country anyway?

17 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Aftermath

  1. Pingback: Chapter 1 – Bury the Hatchet | Fiction for Lesbians

  2. Okay so first of all congrats, I kind of love you, you are an amazing writer. Speaking as someone who is caught up in a doomed epic lesbian love forever thing that you write about in this chapter… You capture the emotions in such a significant way. I love how you portray Ashley’s celibacy being devout even if it is devout devotion for her love of a girl and not god. Been there, still kind of doing that, so I just want you to know that your a great writer.

    Second of all please tell me you are working on a novel, on something to publish because that’s a book I would wait in line to read. You have a great style and amazing talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s some epic praise, I’m a little speechless. I can only say thank you. I’m glad that the feelings and intentions are coming through. I’ve been celibate for about 5 years now because I’m in love with someone I can’t have, so if you don’t mind, could you paddle this boat for a while? I’m tired. lol If you like the religious kind of thing, you might have a look at this chapter of my TLW vamp story: The Art of War: Chapter 2 – And they’re gonna wish they never touched a hair on her head.. I had a reader tell me that they found the comparison of physical intimacy to religious themes very erotic. It reads:

      “There are not words to describe her, or the look that she is giving me just now, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. “If I were a poet – if I were talented with words or even just clever – if I were brave enough to show the world how foolishly I’ve surrendered my heart by giving my sentiments words – I would compare you to that moment just as I awaken, when my limbs are still heavy with sleep even as they reflexively draw you closer. And it’s not just because you’re breathtakingly beautiful, or because you give me a reason and the strength to face a new day, it’s because you banish the dark and breathe new life into everything that you touch. I would describe you, simply, as hope.”

      She sits up and drops my hand from her cheek, and I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done something wrong given the serious expression on her delicate face. Her eyes search mine and leave me feeling naked and exposed. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to hide from her or experienced an acute rush of blood that causes my head to swim. I want to look away from her, but I can’t. I feel frozen in this strange moment of random intensity.

      She reaches up and smoothes the haphazard curls out of my face on both sides, captivating me so effortlessly that even if I had the courage to look away, it still wouldn’t be possible. After a few moments she shakes her head slowly, her eyes growing wide and glassy. Her thoughts are blurry and my anxiety increases.

      I can’t take it anymore and she finally puts me out of my misery, her voice awed and breathy. “How do you do that?”

      My brows knit together in confusion, and I’m afraid to ask her what she’s talking about. “You just… you don’t even realize it, do you?”

      If my brows draw together any more tightly, a third might be born of their union. She smiles at me and my wayward thoughts, shaking her head yet again before moving forward to straddle my lap and rest her forehead against my own. I relax immediately and let go of the breath I’ve been holding, thankful for the reprieve from her gaze, though feeling its loss at the same time.

      My hands find her hips and rest comfortably as she speaks again. “You’ve come so far in the last two decades, and while I’ve always known that you love me, even at your worst, sometimes… even still, you have this way of doing or saying something that just reminds me not to take it for granted.”

      She pulls back, her eyes still dark with intensity but somehow I feel emboldened by it this time. “It’s like… it’s like everything that you do and think and say all catch up in a rush and overwhelm me. And it’s not because any of it is so grand in gesture; it’s overwhelming because you don’t even mean to do it, and that makes it even more meaningful, special… incredible.”

      She’s right. I had no idea and I didn’t mean to feel any of it, but that was always the issue with me. If I’d have had my way, I’d have never felt anything, let alone my love for her. But it’s unstoppable; nothing can touch it, not anger or pain or fear. It’s so bright that even the heavens can’t fathom it and hell can’t shadow it with a thousand trees. She’s my beloved, and as such, beyond any expectation of my will, I am her own. I didn’t mean for it to be that way, but I mean it all the same.

      Her lips are on mine in a caress that leaves my very bones vibrating within me. And when it deepens, those reverberations shake my nerves loose, expanding them to her roaming touch even as every part of me constricts to hold her in. All of my senses swirl together to suck down into my hips and leave me light and breathless, but she’s there to anchor me.

      If I know anything of feeling, it’s only because of her. And I feel her more and more as each threaded barrier is removed with purpose and practiced ease, leaving nothing but naked skin and naked hearts open to the static air. Her hands leave worshipful trails of fire blooming over each dip, protrusion, and velvet plane with a touch so soft that it may as well be feathers.

      Mouths taste, choked whimpers escape overanxious lungs, and each delicate friction excites and soothes as the flames left in its wake consume. My skin has been turned inside out, fusing us together into a writhing mass of flesh and blood, bone and nerve. I push forward, locking myself above her to silently witness the riot of passion that is coloring her skin in the sharp shadows of firelight that dance over the expanse of her body, one that I know better than my own.

      She is inspiring, a wellspring of beauty and the goddess of my sacrament. I build myself an alter in her name in this very moment, and lay myself at her feet in contrition, surrendering myself to the gratification of forgiveness and compassion.

      “Bette…” Each swipe of my tongue against her is the consummation of something irrevocable and holy.

      “Bette…” Her voice is rough and beckoning, chanting out into the air and urging me southward.

      “Bette…” I could never tire of the sound of it, the taste of her, the feel of her fingers in my hair as I reach for the burning heart of her need.

      “BETTE!” I snap up, nearly knocking Dana over from her crouched position and swipe at my eyes.”

      Wow, that’s a lot, but there it is. In regards to a novel, I don’t think I’m good enough yet. That’s why I do fanfic, to get better. But, I will be writing an original fiction. I have the story already, but I’m a little hesitant to write it. I have to make some tough decision on it. Most likely, it will be almost happy ending, but not the way most lesbians want. Thank you so much for your input though. My cheesy danish friend will undoubtedly say that my head is big enough now to call me conceitamasome. 😀

      Like

  3. Okay, let’s continue here… Slacker?! I do have this thing that I like to call a life if you must know;).

    Adding adjectives as we go on I see… I’m already little, cheesy and Danish, which is still incorrect and you’re free to correct that at any time, since I haven’t deleted any reviews (is that even possible?).

    Conceited/fully aware, I say semantics. Careful with the enlarging of your head though, it might explode and I ain’t cleaning that shiz up (read that like I said it like a sassy black woman).

    I will not be submissive, so call it denial all you like, but I’m sticking with my empathy.

    Sooooo let’s go on to the chapter now I’ve got all that bullshit out of the way ;).
    I really really liked it. It was a nice long chapter, which I think is great:). Loved Shirley and Sam’s input in the whole thing, they got a little into that thick skull of Ashley’s which wasn’t enough for her to see everything clearly yet, but it was progress! It was a little weird though that Ashley just tuned out of the conversation they were having to read all her texts with Spencer. I felt like Sam and Shirley would’ve had more to say about Ashley’s behaviour.

    Those texts were awesome though, Ashley finally said some things that she couldn’t take back and showed how she truly feels. I also loved Spencer’s inability to deny her love for Ashley, it’s like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but in a not that repressive way, in a personal choice way.

    Okay, so Sam and Shirley are like the future Spencer and Ashley right? Once they get their shit together, that is. They are pretty damn awesome together, it feels like they genuinely have an amasome relationship together.

    Ashley really needs to get it out of her head that she get’s to decide what Spencer (and other people too, but mostly Spencer) deserves. Yeah, she might not have 60 more years to live, but who knows when they’re gonna die anyway?! Spencer should be the only one to decide who she wants to spend her life with, even though it might be short. That’s a pretty big problem to tackle though, when someone feels as worthless as she does. It’s probably more about her feeling like she doesn’t deserve Spencer instead of the other way around. She’s pretty much torn between ‘I don’t deserve you’ and ‘Spencer is worth it’. Hence the come here go away trip.

    I’m hoping that that is over with now that Spencer has given her a (as this Danish saying goes (not Danish, but you’re too lazy to figure out where I’m from)) cookie from her own dough. She basically held up a mirror for Ashley to see what her own actions are like when you’re on the receiving end. I reckon that really was an eye opener. I don’t think Spencer did that on purpose though, she just didn’t know another way. Maybe it would’ve been better if she had done it on purpose, at least it would’ve meant she hadn’t given up on Ashley. Not that I think she completely did, but it does come across like that. Not sure if that was your intention. It might’ve helped Ashley, but I thought Spencer had seen through her little act a bit more and would’ve tried again to break her down and get into her walls.

    On a more positive note, YAAAAY Seawitch is gone! GO SPENCER! It was long coming. It also had everything to do with Ashley and at the same time it hadn’t. Yes, the texts may have been the catalyst but their relationship hadn’t been working for a while so Spencer did good getting out of that relationship. I’m also really glad that she didn’t just jump at the chance to be with Ashley and even made that painfully clear to Ashley even though she hadn’t tried anything yet (not that she had the chance). You already said that you wouldn’t do that, but I’m just glad that you followed through. Spencer really stood up for herself against Carmen and also Ashley and I reckon that was an important step for her to rebuild her own life and pull herself together again. They both need to learn how to be fine on their own before they can be amasome together.

    Oh and that kiss was awesome too, might’ve been a little inappropriate because Ashley just doesn’t have the right to yet and Spencer shouldn’t lead her on. But it might be a great incentive for both of them (mostly Ashley) to get their act together now that they’ve had a literal taste as a reminder of what they were missing out on all this time.

    Okay that’s all this slacker’s got for you today. So let’s close up with the artist/song of the review: City & Colour – Little Hell. Another amazing artist with sad sad lyrics;).
    Loved your suggestions too! Switchin’ it up to metal, I dig, I dig, especially that last song, it was indeed very funny;).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, well, real lives are overrated. I expect you to drop EVERYTHING and come running when I post, damn it. 😛

      So, in the spirit of friendship, or mainly just to get you to quit complaining, I have altered your nickname. You are now my little, cheesy Stroopwafel. I think it fits the criteria for agreed upon name change, and thus, you are now vindicated.

      No, you may not delete reviews. I am the keeper of the reviews. If you would like me to hide one, I can and will. But delete, never. I love them. I need them. And to remove them would just be cruel of you! Don’t you love me? How have I wronged you? *sniffle*

      Semantics are important. It’s the difference between dating a woman and dating a transexual. Saying I’m going on a date with her, just doesn’t quite prepare you for the real deal. Am I right? Semantics. Live with it. Also, I’ll have you know that I didn’t enlarge my head at all, at least not today. mlfleishman did that for me. See above. You can ask her to help you clean up the mess. I will agree that it would be a spectacular one, for sure. Careful with the sassy black woman comment. I said that EXACT same thing to a friend of mine online. I mean, EXACT, “Sassy black woman.” I did not know that my friend was black and she was like, “Why is she sassy, because she’s black?” JP22, if you’re reading this, it wasn’t me this time. Now, get my little, cheesy Stroopwafel. She didn’t mean it, but a spanking is in order.

      You’re totally a bottom. It’s okay. Bottoms are VERY important.

      I wanted to give you guys a good length. I’m glad it hit all the right spots. 😛

      I had a TON of fun writing Shirley and Sam. I feel that they’re adorable, and yes, their relationship is solid. I think Ashley REALLY needs that in her life and they were the ones I chose to give her that role model. Given how freaked out Ash was by that convo, I don’t know if I see your point about tuning them out while reading. I mean, she was REALLY freaking out about it. I think my words were, “Fuck my fucking life up it’s fucked, fucking ass.” I will say that having them try to interrupt her concentration might have been a touch of extra realism, so this is still awesome feedback. Are Sam and Shirley future Spashley? I would say that you’re a perceptive little fucker, my little, cheesy Stroopwafel.

      As far as Ash getting out of her head, hellz fucking yes! The problem is that half of the choice does lie with her, so she gets to semi-control the outcome. However, she’s too dense to realize that you can’t control your heart or warp it to fit a space you want to cram it into. That’s why I had her discuss the irrationality of love. She knows all of these things that she hasn’t realized yet. But, with this text and S squared convo, I think that she’s in a place where she’s willing to surrender despite the fact that she doesn’t understand any of it.

      And this cookie from her own dough comment is precisely what happened with Spencer. No, she didn’t intend to do it, but I truly believe that nothing short of completely breaking Spencer will make Ashley stop and start to think through what she says and does. Spencer, poor thing, just can’t take anymore. I don’t think she gave up so much as she decided that she’s going to go a specific direction, and she’s not going to let people hold her back from it anymore, Ashley included. The truth is that she can’t put her life on hold for Ashley anymore. And she also can’t move ahead until she stops grieving. She’s been caught in limbo so long that she’s just done fucking with the diplomacy of it. She’s going to stick to her path and stop being weighed down by years dead baggage. If you read her upset with Ashley though, I was trying to hint at the fact that she’s hopeful that Ashley will figure it out and join her on that road forward, but she just can’t keep trying to push her mulish love anymore. You can lead a horse to water and all that…

      YES, Seawitch has been kicked to the curb. She was just another hindrance in Spencer’s ability to move forward. This does not mean that Spencer won’t revisit Carmen once she’s made progress and feels ready to date, so keep that in mind. She truly loves Carmen, but as Shirley and Sam said, “the lightening kind only strikes once.”

      I was pretty proud of that kiss as well. That first kiss has to be an epic read, imo. And while I’m sure someone else could have written it better, I really did try to make it memorable and passionate and longing. It was wholly inappropriate, but it had been building for a long time, and Ash was in all in mode. As far as incentive, absolutely. With time, even the best memories get murky. A kiss like that brightens the ink.

      City & Colour isn’t doing it for me… I’m sorry. I know I’m picky. Keep trying to get through my elitism though, please. lol I thought for sure you’d laugh my ass out of the comment box for Schoolyard Heroes, so you get some serious cool points. I’m glad you liked it.

      Like

      • Oh but that must go both ways then. If real life is overrated you could’ve replied to me sooner;) BOOYAHHHHH 😀

        Alright I’ll accept Stroopwafel, they’re soo fucking yummy :D, now you made me crave one. Thanks for that.

        Don’t worry, I won’t delete any reviews, I’m not THAT cruel. I was just wondering if it was even possible! It’s always good to know what cards I have to play if I ever need to xD. But for now I don’t feel like taking away the love I’ve sent you with my reviews. So you should treasure my empathy!

        Ugh, okay you win the semantics argument. You’re still conceited though, call it fully aware all you like but I just think that’s denial of your conceitedness;).
        Well if it isn’t even my fault that your head may be enlarged and could explode, I have no reason to feel responsible. So mlfleishman can go clean up by herself ;).

        Ahh, let’s get into the sassy black woman comment. I see why it could be misconstrued as hateful, but it was in no way meant like that. I actually think it’s kinda sad that people just expect every black person/gay person/and even, once upon a time, female comment to be negative. Because let’s face it, every person is different. Black people are different from white, gay people are different from straight etc. And everyone/every group has their unique qualities/faults. So basically what I’m saying is that black women usually do sassy way better than us white folk. It was a compliment. That’s why I think it’s sad that everything that is said about a minority that could be either negative or positive is assumed to be negative. People assume too much and go on the defensive too soon. Let’s ask how people mean things before starting to defend. Is a spanking still in order? I think not ;). Because I’m NOT a bottom. Or am I?! You’ll never know ;). I agree that bottoms are important, I like bottoms, bottoms are great. I’ll have you know that I have a great bottom xD.

        I’m glad you get my feedback because apparently leaving comments at 11.45 pm gets messed up. I indeed meant it like S&S reacting or asking something would’ve been more realistic, not that Ashley did something wrong, because she was rightfully all over the place. I’d be too if I didn’t remember a whole night, especially after a day like that.

        I guess I have to agree on the fact that Spencer breaking would be the one thing that could stop Ashley’s destructive behaviour. For all her faults, you can’t really say she’s selfish. It may come across that way to others, but in her mind she’s just sparing other people the misery. I guess I was just hoping that Spencer would push Ashley a little more and have that be enough for Ashley to break. But Spencer is only human too and I get that she can’t take it anymore. Ashley may have the worse life, but losing you ‘lightning kind of love’ like that and then having an unhealthy relationship couldn’t have been easy on her either.
        I reckon you’ve put them at the start of the right track now with Ashley promising to not run anymore. Now let’s see where that path takes them! Hopefully not to Carmen, but I get that Spencer might need some more closure on that relationship to get to the end of the track where she’ll be able to be with Ashley once more. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes. Let’s go to Canada first. Always wanted to go there, it’s at the top of my ‘must go before I die’ list;)

        City & Colour not working for you?! Girl you’re missing out. Maybe you need a more angsty/dark song like ‘Two Coins’. Of course I wouldn’t laugh at you for your taste in music… Okay maybe I would, but I like a lot of stuff :P! And while metal isn’t my main genre, I’ve learned to appreciate it and even love some bands. So no cool points taken away for that;) the grunge thing isn’t really my favorite part of metal though, so that’s probably why I liked the second one better.

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        • Hmm, I can accept that going both ways, as my emergencies were definitely no fun and thus, rl is overrated. So we’re agreed then that nothing is more important than my fic on the Internet?

          I’m glad that you accept your new nickname because you don’t really get a choice either way, my cheesy, little stroopwafel. Are those like normal waffles at all?

          As for the size of my head, you do own some significant responsibility, just not on this chapter. Although, you keep coming back for dialogue, because I’m amasome. Regardless of your snarky comments, you must recognize this. Good to know.

          I agree that people are looking for offense. I was just poking fun at you and JP22. I did, honestly, use that exact phrase though. Lol Fear not. I don’t believe that you’ve actually offended anyone and either way, I know that wasn’t your intent.

          Don’t give up on Spencer yet, even if she’s let you down. I think that this is a good turning point for her. She’s getting her spine back. I think we’d all like to believe that there’s this one lightening kind of love who can push us forward indefinitely, but I just don’t think that’s real. Self-preservation kicks in, rightly so, and we only take so much abuse. I think it will still be a good thing for Ashley, so it’s a win win situation.

          Yeah, I don’t know why, but it isn’t sucking me in. I listen to so much that if it doesn’t pull me in immediately, I move on. I’m more of an indie kid, really. I love metal, not so much grunge, but I like how fluid indie is. You feel good, even when you don’t. If that makes any sense…

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          • Well, let’s be real though, rl is more important, but since rl sucks sometimes, fics are a great way to take your mind off of it!

            If you see waffles as those fluffy pieces of dough, then yes. Stroopwafels are completely different, it’s more like a cookie-ish waffle with sticky, not that runny syrup in between the waffle layers. It’s GREAT, you should try them;).

            Hmm, maybe you’re right. I should stop praising your ass before it gets messy. OR, we could make a deal, I’ll keep coming back for dialogue and rants about my thoughts on your work and how amasome I think you are and you keep that head of yours in check. That way we’re both happy:). Deal?

            Sometimes I just gots to rant about shit that bothers me. Apparently you struck a little nerve with that warning even though I know you meant it as a joke;). It’s nothing personal, just my views on society! And I feel like I can do that here because you’re very likely to understand what I’m saying:).

            Spencer hasn’t let me down, I just thought you’d take the story somewhere else. Doesn’t mean it’s bad, I actually think it’s a really good thing. Not reading Spencer’s point of view makes you forget about her struggles sometimes. There are two hurt parties her with their own issues to work out. It’s good to be reminded of that. Spencer growing her spine back will be good for Ashley too, so let’s start rebuilding these persons and move forward:)

            Indie is such a weird genre, it’s a broader spectrum of music than any other genre I think. But I like it. I also like to have songs grow on me, sometimes songs on albums that I listen to are really boring to me at first but end up being some of my favorites. So let’s try You+Me, it’s still a little City & Colour, but with P!nk thrown in. It’s more acoustic than the stuff I had you listen to before and their voices blend really well together! Also, if you ever have more music suggestions, throw ’em my way! As you might’ve noticed, I’m a huge music geek and I lovelovelove discovering new shit:)

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  4. Ashley’s drunk texts had me laughing so hard I cried. I am so glad Ashley grew a pair and chased Spencer before she got away. I am very excited for what’s to come!

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  5. So I found Still into You yesterday morning before work, and finished it this morning at work. As well as these two chapters of Still into You Too. And let me tell u. I am sorry that I didn’t see these earlier because I am so absolutely, heartbreakingly in love with this story. I cannot wait for an update. The character dynamics, the style of the writing… It’s just seriously amazing. It’s been so long since I have found something on here that has captured me as much as this has. So thank you. I will be checking out ur blog and I will probably add you on Twitter as well lol just cuz lol. Have a great day and please update soon.

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    • Goodness, did you sleep at all? 130k words in 24 hours is a lot! I’m not a super fast reader though, so maybe you’re just that quick. Thank you so much for your kind words. I try very hard with my fic and it’s always so… encouraging when others notice that effort. I’ll do my best not to disappoint you. You’re welcome, and thank you!

      Twitter
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  6. I love this story. It had me hooked from the first chapter. The second book has transitioned perfectly from the first. I can’t wait to see what happens.

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    • So it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been on Fanfiction and I was really hoping for an update! But I’m sure you will make us all happy soon by providing us with more to this amazing story. As for the phone, I had an iphone 4 it was running on the old iOS 7 software, but with my new job I was able to upgrade my phone, yay! Also, next time I comment I’ll finally add a name :p

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      • I’m sorry that this took so long and I’m very happy that you’re still enjoying it. Thanks for consistently providing feedback. I really appreciate you. Also, thanks to hiddendragonn, the BLOG IS NOW MOBILE COMPATIBLE.

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