Best For Me: Chapters 11 to 15

Previously: Chapters 6-10 [A]

Boss, put some author’s notes here when you wake up!
Notes. (I’m an author so it counts – Sez)

Disclaimers: Thomas Lynch and the Raiders of the Lost N own SON. Your very own Dr Sez owns this story. I just work here.
Rating: Hot. White Hot. And totally NSFW.

* * * * *

Chapter Eleven

Spencer pulled her car up to Ashley’s and turned the motor off. The quiet Wednesday night hummed lightly and she could smell frost on the air. She’d seen the musician just hours before at the community centre when she’d gone to pick up Elly. Her daughter looked like an experiment in finger painting gone wrong, and was covered in all the colours of the rainbow. Even Spencer hadn’t been able to stop from bursting out laughing, and she’d heard a stifled giggle behind her as the music class emerged. Turning, she’d caught Ashley’s eye, and they’d laughed together. Just a few hours later and here she was again.

And why?

Because of the way she’d felt when that laughter ran through her. Because of the way her hand had burnt when their fingers had brushed as Ashley had passed her the details of Friday night. Because of the way she’d woken up every night this week dreaming of the beautiful brunette. Because it had to stop.

Spencer got out of the car and crossed the road. She felt like two people were playing tug-of-war and she was the rope. Part of her was dragging backwards, unwilling to confront Ashley and her own feelings, telling her to go back to the car and keep pretending that the things she was feeling weren’t real. The other part was dragging her forwards, telling her that she had to stop this now, for the sake of her marriage and her child and her sanity. That bit had won.

Spencer took a deep breath and knocked on the door. She waited and waited, and when no one came, she thought she may have won a reprieve. She was about to turn around and leave when the door opened. Spencer took an involuntary step backwards and nearly fell down the stairs.

“Oh sorry, I was just… I thought… I…” taking a deep breath and steadying herself she got her thoughts into order. “Is Ashley home?”

The woman who opened the door was good-looking. Very good-looking. She was tanned, fit and had straight auburn hair that framed a perfect face. She was staring at Spencer with a curious raise of her brow and making the blonde feel about three inches tall.

“Babe, who is it?” Spencer heard Ashley’s voice echo from within the house.

She caught sight of the brunette when she rounded a corner into the hall, dressed in casual sweats with a towel turbaned on her head, clearly fresh from the shower. Devoid of makeup and in comfortable clothes, Spencer thought she looked more beautiful than ever before. She felt her heart squeeze in her chest and it became hard to breath. She looked from the redhead to Ashley frantically, trying to figure out how to get out of this.

“Spencer!” Ashley sounded surprised.

“Hi” Spencer choked back haltingly. “Um. Sorry to bother you, I didn’t realise… I’ll go.”

“No, no, wait.” Ashley reached the door and ducked under the other girl’s arm to reach Spencer. The redhead was leaning against the door with her arms crossed, looking less than amused and clearly unwilling to move. “What’s wrong? You look worried.”

Spencer searched her brains for an answer that wouldn’t sound completely idiotic. She glanced at the woman leaning against the door again and Ashley caught the flicker in her eyes.

“Oh, sorry, how rude of me.” She stepped backwards, giving Spencer a clear view of the redhead. “Spencer, this is my girlfriend, Olivia. Liv, this is Spencer.”

“Pleased to meet you,” drawled the other woman, clearly neither pleased nor willing to move forward to shake Spencer’s hand.

“Likewise,” Spencer murmured.

“Do you want to come in?” Ashley asked, smiling at Spencer.

“No, no, it’s okay,” Spencer said. “I didn’t realise you had company.” Spencer realised she couldn’t possibly have known if Ashley had company or not and it was a stupid thing to say. Funnily enough, it was the most intelligent thing she could think of at the time.

“Don’t be silly,” Ashley frowned with a smile. Her nose wrinkled and Spencer let out a breath. “Liv isn’t company. Come on in.”

“No, no, really” protested Spencer. “I just… I just lost the details you gave me today and thought I’d get them off you again.” The lie rolled off her tongue and she congratulated herself on the smoothness. It was some quick thinking. It even sounded plausible.

“Why didn’t you just call?” Ashley looked confused.

Okay, maybe not so plausible. “I was passing by anyway,” Spencer lied again. Okay, that was quicker thinking.

“Oh.” Ashley seemed to have bought it. “Hang on and I’ll write it down for you.” She ducked inside, leaving Spencer standing on the porch.

Olivia was still staring at her coolly. Spencer gave her a weak smile.

“I’m always losing stuff,” she offered. Even to her own ears it sounded pathetic. The look on Liv’s face told Spencer that the other woman also thought she was pathetic. Spencer felt herself redden and hated the way her blush went all the way to her ears.

“Here it is.” Ashley re-emerged, saving Spencer from her embarrassment. “Don’t lose it this time, I’d really like you there.” She grinned at Spencer, not noticing the redness.

“I won’t,” the blonde said softly. “Sorry to have interrupted you.” Her face reddened again when she realised what she may have interrupted.

“It’s okay, you didn’t interrupt anything.” Ashley smiled again. Spencer thought that if looks could have killed then Liv probably would have been done for murder then and there. Backing down the stairs, Spencer waved her goodbyes, and escaped before the situation could get any more uncomfortable, if that was even possible.

She drove around the corner, far enough that she couldn’t be seen from Ashley’s house and then pulled over sharply, folding over the steering wheel and gulping in air. She could feel tears falling freely down her cheeks and her head was spinning so hard she thought she was going to faint. Slamming her fist down on the dashboard, she cried her heart out until she felt so drained she knew there was nothing left. Then she drove home.

* * * * *

Chapter Twelve

Spencer squared off in front of Gray. She’d waited until he’d come home, and now, at one in the morning, she was determined to have her say. It wasn’t fair and she knew it wasn’t fair. She wasn’t really mad at him; she was mad at herself for the way she’d let everything get to her and the way she’d been acting lately. Gray didn’t know about Ashley and she had no intention of telling him but the guilt inside her was so acute it hurt.

She’d been shattered by the reality that Ashley had a girlfriend, positively shattered. That had bothered her more than anything. She was trying so hard to convince herself that this was about Spencer and Gray. She wanted to believe that it was about anything other than Spencer and Ashley. So, she was making it about Spencer and Gray. And if the emotion inside her was too much to handle, she was going to let it out, whether he liked it or not. Whether it was fair or not.

“What time do you call this?” she said to her husband, venom lacing her voice.

“Spencer.” He sounded so tired, so very, very tired. “Not now. Please.”

“When, Gray? When are we going to talk. You get home at this time every night. If I don’t do this now, when will I do it?” Gray looked so tired, though, and her resolve was breaking.

“Please, Spencer. I’ve had the worst day imaginable. If I had the choice between being at home with you or at work today, there would have been no choice. I would have been here. Trust me on that. But, please let me sleep now. I don’t think I have it in me to argue.”

He looked like a little boy, and Spencer’s heart broke. Pulling him into a hug, she kissed him on the forehead and closed her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. Sorry for so many things, especially those he didn’t know about. “Go to bed.”

She let him go and watched him lurch, zombie-like, up the hall to the bedroom. Grinding her forehead into her hands, she felt the scratchy dryness behind her eyelids that heralded more crying. She was sick of crying. Two months ago she was the calmest, most capable person she knew. She never cried. Now she was doing it every day. What was she going to do?

After thinking about it for an eternity, she came to the same decision she had earlier that week: she’d give it one more try. It was an opportunity to get her life in order. She’d been right about the need for fun. She needed to get a life and she needed to get her life back on track.

Ashley might make her feel things she shouldn’t, but she was also the best friend Spencer had made in a long time. Despite everything, the blonde was unwilling to give that up. She should have known better. Of course someone as gorgeous as Ashley was going to be taken. Even if she’d been single, what difference would that have made? Spencer was married. And straight. She was just lonely without Gray and looking for an outlet.

So she’d go on with her three resolutions. One, she was going to make her and Gray work on their marriage. But at least she’d give him the grace of waiting till he was awake to talk about it. Two, she was going to be friends with Ashley and damn well enjoy the time they spent together. And three, she was going to learn how to be happy again.

It made the decision to go to Ashley’s gig easy. Besides, she was too excited about seeing the girl perform to even consider not going. Despite her little outburst, her mother was more than happy to have Elly over for the night. Clay was the only other member of the family who had provided grandchildren, although you would have thought that Glen would have by now, too, with all his sleeping around. Clay lived a long way away, however, and Elly was always welcome at her grandparents’ house. Dodging questions about their argument at the barbeque, Spencer dropped her daughter off and high-tailed it back to her house to get ready. Gray was at work, no surprises there.

She dressed carefully and with even more thought than she had for the gallery opening. She wanted to look good, and not too out of place in a club. She wanted hot but untouchable, cool but approachable. It was a hard ask, especially given the contents of Spencer’s wardrobe, but she was determined to make it happen. In the end she settled on the shortest skirt she owned and a top that left only a little bit to the imagination. It was possibly less than subtle but at least she looked hot.

This time she’d agreed to meet Ashley at the venue given that the brunette would be there hours early to set up. She was still Spencer, however, and therefore she was early. The club was open when she got there but barely occupied, with only a few people lingering around the edges. She spotted Ashley straight away, up on the stage chatting animatedly with a sound guy and gesticulating with each laugh. She was only wearing jeans and a nice top but she still took Spencer’s breath away. Pushing that thought deep down inside her, Spencer lingered inside the door and tried to look inconspicuous.

She couldn’t help blushing for an unknown reason when Ashley looked up and spotted her, but she was gratified for the grin that grew on the brunette’s face. Spencer watched as she jumped down off the stage and made her way over to meet the blonde.

“You made it!” Ashley sounded genuinely excited at the fact.

“Of course,” Spencer replied warmly. “I wouldn’t miss this!”

“Wow. No pressure or anything,” Ashley joked back.

“You’ll be great,” enthused Spencer with honesty. She was really excited about hearing Ashley perform. And not just because the sound of the musicians voice always sent hot wiring straight up her spine.

She was grateful that Ashley hung with her as the venue filled. They became increasingly less able to hear each other as the room filled and the noise grew, but they got a decent conversation in anyway. Spencer was still marvelling at how easy it was to talk to this girl, and how much she just enjoyed spending time in her presence. The time for Ashley to leave and go backstage was fast approaching when Liv materialized next to the pair without Spencer seeing where she came from.

The presence of the redhead made Spencer tense up immediately. It didn’t take a mind reader for Spencer to realise that the woman had taken an instant dislike to her. The way she pulled Ashley into her arms and kissed her in a long, soulful manner suggested to Spencer the reason why she wasn’t Liv’s favourite person. Clearly the woman was possessive of Ash. Spencer couldn’t argue with that; in fact, she could understand it. The way they kissed made the blonde girl blush slightly and look away. She wasn’t sure if it was the public display of affection or the fact that she was mildly green with envy. She pushed that thought down inside her, too.

Ashley pulled away, looking somewhat abashed at Liv’s affection. She tried to keep a conversation going, but in the end, went back to talking to Spencer because her girlfriend was stony silent. It didn’t last long anyway, because the musician was called backstage before long, leaving the blonde and the redhead standing side-by-side. Spencer considered starting a conversation but she was rather cowed in the presence of the other woman. She was taller and leaner than Spencer, strikingly good looking and she didn’t look like she wanted to talk to anyone, least of all Spencer.

“So, what do you do with yourself?” The question came out of nowhere and Spencer was a little stunned by the fact that Liv had talked to her. Although, the question was practically spat.

“I work part-time in a counsellor’s office,” Spencer replied after a second. “The rest of the time I’m home looking after my daughter.”

“Oh, you have a child?” Liv looked surprised and raised an eyebrow. She said the world ‘child’ in the same way that some people might react if Spencer had admitted to owning an exotic marmoset.

“Yes,” Spencer replied, somewhat defensively as the band began to tune up. “She’s four.”

The music was loud enough now to make all conversation end, if you could call the four-line exchange a conversation. Spencer felt her insides go funny again when Ashley appeared on stage. She stole a glance at the girl next to her, but Liv’s face was unreadable in expression and Spencer found her eyes dragged back to the stage anyway.

And then she was lost in the music and the sound and the amazing spectacle that was Ashley Davies. She was enthralled by the way the brunette totally threw herself into the music, and the way that soulful voice encompassed everything and everyone in the room. She had talent in spades and now it was working its magic over Spencer Carlin McIntyre. For Spencer, it felt like everyone else faded away: the crowd, the intimidating redhead next to her, the band. It was just a world with her and Ashley. At some point in the set, the musician looked up and straight down into Spencer’s crystal-clear blue eyes. For the blonde, it was a poignant moment that sent daggers through her chest and made it hard to inhale.

It was over too soon, and Spencer felt bereft when the music stopped. She decided in that moment that maybe she would become a groupie. It seemed like a more exciting life than her own, and she’d definitely found the right person to idolize. Ashley came out from behind the stage area, wet with the exertion and the lights, draining a bottle of water and looking amazing nonetheless. Spencer held back from squealing and throwing her arms around the brunette in excitement over the show, but only because Liv was still standing coolly and calmly by.

“That was amazing!” the blonde enthused despite holding back on physical contact. “You are unbelievable. So very, very incredible.” She realized she was gushing and blushed.

“Thanks” Ashley looked gratified. “It felt good!”

“It was better than good. Do you have a record deal or something?” Spencer couldn’t help but gushing some more, though, as she really had enjoyed the gig. She and Ashley fell into easy conversation again. It was only an hour later when Liv, who had been standing by, folding her arms and tapping her foot, finally cut in between the banter of the blonde and the brunette and almost yelled at Ashley, “I’m going home!”

It was a pointed comment that left all three silent and made it clear that Liv expected Ashley to come with her. The brunette eyed her girlfriend with some wariness, and then reached out to squeeze Spencer’s hand.

“Hang on,” she told the blonde, “I’ll be right back.” Taking Liv’s elbow, Ashley disappeared into the crowd. Spencer stood at the bar, cradling her drink and trying not to feel so suddenly lonely. But Ashley reappeared a lot sooner than Spencer had anticipated. “You don’t have to go yet, do you?” the musician asked.

“Hell no! This is my night of fun. I can stay out all night if I like.”

Spencer couldn’t help grin back at the gorgeous smile on Ashley’s face, or the cute way her nose wrinkled when she was happy.

“C’mon” Ashley pulled her away from the bar. “We’re dancing.”

It was nearly four when they got to Spencer’s house, after Ashley had given her a ride home, both of them laughing the whole way. They pulled up in front of the house, and Spencer couldn’t help but note that the only car in the drive was her own. No Gray. The house was dark and silent. Grinning at Ashley, she turned in her seat and gave the other girl a spontaneous hug.

“Thank you so much for tonight, Ash. It was really special.”

Ashley returned the hug with another and pulled back, grinning.

“Thank you so much for coming. It made it special.” She gently tucked a stray lock of blonde hair behind Spencer’s ear and their gazes locked. Breath caught in her throat, Spencer had to force her words out.

“No, you’re the special one. You’re… you’re incredible.” She was inches from Ashley’s mouth and her eyes kept dropping there. She leaned a little closer, heart pounding, knowing what she wanted but unsure. She could just see Ashley’s eyes closing in her peripheral vision.

And then she found herself in another hug, no lips on her own. The tension broken, she hugged back. Smiling ruefully, she got out of the car.

“Call me, okay?” Ashley leaned out the driver’s-side window as the blonde made her way around the car.

“I will. I promise.” Spencer replied.

Ashley waited in the car until Spencer had her front door safely open before starting the engine. Spencer stopped on the threshold to her home, turning to watch the musician easily steer the car out onto the street. Sighing, she moved inside her house and closed the door, wondering what the hell she was going to do with herself.

* * * * *

Chapter Thirteen

The night at Ashley’s gig must have cemented their friendship because, for the next fortnight, she was around a lot. They just seemed to be spending more and more time together, and it was making Spencer’s head spin with happiness. It was so easy to be with Ashley, to laugh and joke and talk about anything and everything. She got along with Elly like a house on fire, too, and the little girl was always excited to see the musician. In fact, the tableau in front of Spencer, as she stood at the entrance to her kitchen, was giving her a goofy kind of smile and heart tug. Ashley was on the floor, legs crossed, with Elly sitting in front of her playing some strange game of patty cake that involved a lot of giggling and tickles. It wasn’t lost on Spencer that Ashley had spent more time with Elly in the last two weeks than Gray had in the last year.

She was startled out of her thoughts, and Ashley and Elly were pulled out of their game, by the front door opening suddenly. Looking haggard and a little lost, Gray came through the door, rubbing his eyes. He moved into the kitchen like a sleepwalker and was completely oblivious to anyone that was around until Spencer handed him a glass of water, since that was what he seemed to be after.

“Thanks, babe,” he said woodenly.

“Jesus, Gray, you look awful.” She was worried about him. In her peripheral vision, she could see Ashley rising from the living room rug and brushing down her jeans.

“I’m going to bed.” Gray walked out of the kitchen and came to a halt when he realised that Ashley was standing in his living room looking confused and out-of-place. He had no idea who she was and it showed on his face.

“Gray, this is my friend, Ashley,” Spencer introduced them warily.

“Pleased to meet you. Sorry, I’m not myself at the moment.” Gray gave a sideways smile and then moved off to the hallway and the corridor.

Spencer gave Ashley a half-shrug in apology for Gray’s rudeness and pulled the tea towel off her shoulder.

“I should get going,” Ashley said, shoving her hands in her pockets and looking at Spencer in a way the blonde couldn’t decipher.

“Don’t,” Spencer frowned in response. “Stay for dinner.” She didn’t miss the subtle movement of Ashley’s head turning slightly towards the bedroom where Gray slept.

“I can’t…” she stuttered slightly as she replied. “I have plans.”

They both knew it was a lie, but Spencer let it slide. She opened the door for the brunette and, as she walked to go down the stairs, she caught Ashley’s elbow and turned her around. Closing the door gently behind her, she pulled the shorter girl into her arms and held her, letting the scent from her dark curls float down around her. She felt Ashley’s hands slide around her waist and behind her, and just stood enjoying the last of the evening sunshine in the warm embrace. Pulling away, she looked into serious chocolate-brown eyes and ran a hand gently over the curve of one perfect cheek. Spencer watched as Ashley’s eyes drifted closed at the touch and then fluttered open.

“Spence,” she heard the murmur on Ashley’s lips.

Then she gently, ever so softy, leant down and brushed her own lips over the brunette’s. It was the barest of kisses and over before even the wind had a chance to notice as it whipped up suddenly, leaving a gust of leaves flying around the yard.

“Thank you for being my friend,” Spencer whispered, and let go of Ashley. The musician gave her a half-smile and a shrug, and then continued down the path to her car.

Spencer had the feeling that she’d scared Ashley off. For the next few days, they didn’t see the musician at all and most of Spencer’s phone calls went unanswered and unreturned. It was getting Spencer down and the good mood she’d sustained for the last two weeks was rapidly diminishing. On top of that, the absence of Ashley in her life for those few days merely highlighted the complete lack of her husband in her life, which made Spencer think about all the things that she didn’t want to think about, which in turn only worsened her mood.

By the time that Friday rolled around, Spencer found herself waiting up for Gray again. He hadn’t seen Elly in a week, apart from that brief glance when Ashley had last left. He’d been up well before the girls and home well after both of them had gone to bed and the only reason he’d seen Spencer is that she made an effort to get up early sometimes and make him breakfast.

Spencer sat on the couch, arms crossed in readiness, waiting for her husband to walk in. This time she didn’t care how tired he was. This time she didn’t care what he said. This time they were damn well going to talk.

Gray must have caught her expression as he walked in the door because the look on his face said it all. He mustn’t have realised that because he felt the need to say it, too.

“Not now Spencer.” He looked tired.

“Then when, Gray?” she replied evenly, trying not to get angry straight away. In truth, the fury was welling up inside her but she was keeping the lid on it, knowing that it was going to blow no matter what. “When are we going to talk? When are you planning on being home? When the hell are we going to have time when you’re never damn well here?” The anger was threatening to erupt now and she had to push it back down.

“Spencer, it’s two in the morning!”

“Exactly, Gray.” She stood up, arms crossed and lips thin. “Like it was last night, and the night before and the damn night before that. The night before that you made it home in time to fall into bed after being rude to my friend.” She shook her head sadly. “When exactly are we going to talk?”

“Now apparently,” he muttered.

“Gray, did it occur to you this may be important?” Spencer curbed her urge to stamp her foot in anger. She didn’t think it would lend an air of seriousness to the matter. “I never see you any more.”

“Spencer, you know this is important. You know this project is long hours and I’m working 24/7. You think the other guys aren’t doing the same? We’re all pulling long hours here. Besides, it’s all for the good of us.” He threw his hands up in defence.

“The good of us? How the hell is this doing us any good?”

“Well, for starters, I’ve been told that when this project goes through I’m up for departmental head!” Gray threw the comment at her, and Spencer wondered if he actually thought that she’d back down with it.

“You can’t be serious, Gray.”

“How is that not a good thing? A promotion, Spence, that’s everything.”

Spencer looked at him and was overcome with sadness at her sudden realisation. “It’s everything to you…” He looked at her, not getting her meaning. “But it’s not everything to us, Gray. I’m guessing promotion means more hours, more work and more projects.”

“Spencer, this is what I do. This is my job, our livelihood. This is important.”

“Important enough to lose your damn family??”

“Spencer, you’re being melodramatic. I’m going to bed.” He started walking towards the door.

“Don’t you walk out on me, Gray McIntyre!” Her voice was laced with steel and she spat the phrase through clenched teeth. It got him to stop, but he didn’t turn around.

“For what Spence? The same argument we had last week? And the week before that.”

“Gray, why do we keep having these arguments? Is it maybe because you don’t listen to me?” That made him turn around.

“Or that you don’t listen to me?” he replied venomously. “Why is this about you? Why can’t you just be happy that I’m getting somewhere? Be happy that this is important to me?”

“Because you’re not a part of my life any more, Gray. You’re never here and when you do have some time off, you spend it alone, or with your buddies playing golf. That’s not being part of a family!” She was awash with feeling, her emotions boiling in turmoil. She didn’t know whether to scream or to cry.

“Spencer, you’re being melodramatic. This isn’t a problem for other people. You’re making it a problem for us. I’m going to bed.” He walked towards the hallway and she didn’t stop him, but she did throw this back at him:

“Fine. I’m going out.”

“Where to?” He asked incredulously “It’s two in the fucking morning.”

“I know. But I can’t stay here.” Grabbing her keys and her jacket she turned on her heel and walked out the door.

* * * * *

Chapter Fourteen

Spencer knew that it was madness turning up to Ashley’s house at two-fifteen in the morning but she really couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. There was no way she could turn up at her parents’ house at this hour and all of her other friends… Who was she kidding? She had acquaintances, not friends.

She was on the doorstep and hesitating again. It seemed like, no matter when she turned up, she had major trouble knocking on Ashley Davies’ door. It was like her arm refused to lift and her fingers refused to curl for the knock. Or maybe it was just that she knew this was dangerous, especially now, when her emotions were running riot. Especially now, when nothing in her life seemed to be going right and for once she just wanted to give in to what she wanted. Now would be a bad time to knock on Ashley’s door, especially given how she was going to wake the girl up and probably piss her off.

She knocked anyway. She figured she was here and, if it was a choice between knocking on the door and going back home, she knew where she was headed. Gritting her teeth for the inevitable, Spencer waited patiently and was surprised that her quiet knock was answered so quickly. And more surprised that Ashley was dressed and clearly awake.

“Spencer.” The brunette sounded as surprised as the blonde felt, although clearly for different reasons. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” She pulled Spencer into the house and closed the door.

“I’m… I’m fine.” Spencer wasn’t sure if she was trying to reassure Ashley or herself here. “Really… I…”

Ashley took her hand and led her to the living room. Spencer found herself being gently sat on the couch and watched Ashley fold up on the cushion next to her. “Spencer, talk to me.”

“I’m sorry,” Spencer whispered.

“What for?” Ashley chuckled, tipping Spencer’s chin up with one finger and smiling at her. Spencer felt her stomach flip at the grin.

“For waking you up.”

“You didn’t. I was awake.” There was a distant look in Ashley’s eyes and Spencer wondered what the brunette was thinking. “Anyway, I don’t mind.”

“I’m sorry for turning up at two am then,” Spencer argued.

“I really don’t mind,” Ashley protested. “Talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong.”

Spencer buried her head in her hands and rubbed her eyes. They felt itchy and out of place in her head. “I had another argument with Gray.”

“The same one again?” Ashley nodded understandingly.

“Yeah,” Spencer laughed derisively, “Same argument again and again and again. He doesn’t care what I want or what I think.”

“Oh, Spencer, I’m sure that’s not true.”

“It is,” she protested, bursting with anger and a deep sadness. “He doesn’t even think there’s a problem and if he cares about me, he’s not showing it. He never shows it. And I’m starting not to care!”

“Spence…”

Spencer felt so out of control that she was afraid she was going to tip sideways off the couch. She pushed up until she was leaning on her knees and looked down on Ashley who had one eyebrow raised in confusion.

“Why do things have to be so hard?” Spencer blurted out, voice thick with unshed tears. “Why can’t I just have something I want for once?”

Ashley’s face softened and she raised one hand to run a finger down Spencer’s jaw. “What do you want?”

Spencer swallowed and then leant down, inching her way closer to Ashley. Her mouth hovered a few mere centimetres from the gorgeous lips in front of her. “This,” she whispered and then closed the distance.

Crushing her lips into Ashley’s, she thrust her hands into lustrous thick curls and pulled Ashley in close. As the kiss solidified, she felt a tongue snake out and run across her top and then bottom lips. Groaning in passion, she opened her lips and deepened the kiss. She could feel Ashley’s hands slide around her waist, finding the exposed skin at the small of her back and causing goosebumps to spread across the flesh as it was touched.

Unable to balance on her knees any further, Spencer pitched forward, landing on the brunette who fell back against the couch with a soft “ugh”, but amazingly managed to do so without breaking the kiss. Spencer felt Ashley’s hand skim up to the back of her neck and pull her in, kissing her over and over in a litany of ecstasy. Bodies pressed sensually close, Spencer found herself grinding down and let out a small cry when Ashley shifted, bringing her knee up against Spencer’s rapidly heating centre and sending jolts of sensation flying through her.

“God, Ashley,” Spencer moaned against her companion’s lips, grinding her hips down suddenly against the new invasion and panting. Her angle was all wrong and she couldn’t get the contact she so desperately craved. Her body was on fire like it had never been before and she wanted more. “Please…” she whimpered, pushing her body against Ashley’s in a plea that did not go unheeded. “Please, Ashley!”

Spencer moaned with protest when the brunette broke the kiss. Tightening her fingers through silken curls, Spencer sought Ashley’s mouth with her own again, frantic to keep contact. Taking some control, she swept her tongue against its twin, rubbing sensually and bringing whimpers of pleasure from the girl beneath her. This time when Ashley broke the kiss she didn’t protest, instead gasping as full lips slid down across her jaw, nipping at her neck and leaving a trail of kisses down to Spencer’s collarbone, igniting the blonde even further. Frustrated at their separation, Spencer pulled at Ashley’s top, unable to fathom the various strings and catches in her current heated state and making little noises of protest as she failed to get the clothing off. She groaned again, this time in appreciation and pleasure, as Ashley lifted the hem of the garment and swept it off in one motion. Her creamy breasts were encased in black lace and Spencer felt her lower regions flood with heat and wetness at the sight of the nearly-topless woman in front of her. Ashley’s mouth was making its way back up her neck and her hands were busy on Spencer’s back, under her top. With barely a break in the contact of her mouth on Spencer’s skin, Ashley deftly removed Spencer’s top, leaving both women in bras, and panting from exertion and need.

Her mouth now nuzzling Spencer’s ear, Ashley whispered, her voice urgent and low, “Bedroom…” She groaned as Spencer’s hand swept across her rib cage, just below her black lace bra. “Now.”

Launching the pair of them up, she pulled Spencer to her feet and the blonde whimpered. She was gratified by the quick regaining of contact as Ashley pulled her back into a strong embrace, skin pressing into skin and mouths melding. Spencer was conscious of being walked through the house but it was irrelevant: all that mattered was that Ashley wasn’t stopping and the kisses went on and on. They made it to the hallway outside the bedroom before the kisses got so intense that they couldn’t move on. Hands tangled in hair and bodies pressed lithely together, Spencer gasped when she felt the cool, hard wall on her back and Ashley pressing her into it. The contrast between the warmth of the body in front of her and the coolness of the wall on her back only heightened her sensations.

“Fuck!” The epithet slipped out of Spencer’s mouth as Ashley’s knee slid between her legs and found its mark again. Grinding down on it she threw her head back, short breaths escaping her mouth as Ashley’s mouth found her neck again, attacking it with new vigour and making Spencer weak at the knees. If it hadn’t been for Ashley’s hand wrapped around her waist and knee deliciously sliding between hers, Spencer probably would have melted to the floor in a puddle. The hand wrapped around her waist slid up and Spencer thought that time would stop as it made its way up. When it finally made it over one breast, a flimsy layer of cloth between it and the warmth of the hand, Spencer’s knees finally gave out.

“God Almighty!” she heard Ashley breathe out as the brunette pulled them away from the wall and into the bedroom. They hit the mattress with Spencer on her back and Ashley supporting herself on out-stretched hands above her. Their lower bodies moved with an urgency and rhythm that was primal and of its own accord.

Clothes were shed and hands slid. Mouths found mouths and kisses deepened, exploring and teasing, tasting and darting. Spencer was awash with sensation, her nerve endings sensitive to the point of ache. All that lay between her and the incredible body of Ashley Davies was two pairs of underwear. She was trying to keep her head together long enough to be able to touch the brunette, but the talented hands of her companion were playing merry hell with her ability to concentrate and stoking the fires in her to explosion point.

When Ashley’s hand slid down her abdomen and began playing with the edge of her underwear, Spencer became nearly insensible. She knew that her body was on fire. Urgently she thrust her hips upward, searching for something to quell the thirst burning out of control inside her.

“Fuck, Spencer.” she heard Ashley moan in her ear as the blonde raked fingernails down her back, “I need to touch you…” She tugged at Spencer’s underwear meaningfully, and Spencer responded by arching her hips, allowing her panties to be pulled down her hips and tossed away. She was overcome by a sense of need, but tempered by sudden shyness at her nakedness. Ashley looked down at her in awe and Spencer felt better at the whispered words that escaped the brunette’s lips. “You’re so beautiful.” Spencer blushed in response.

She ran her hands over Ashley’s shoulders and swallowed. The musician looked gorgeous in the light of the single lamp that bathed the room in an easy glow. Her skin glistened and her curls were delightfully disarrayed. Spencer wound one hand through Ashley’s hair and pulled her mouth down again, kissing her with a passion that took them both by surprise and sent them spiralling off again. The kiss was broken when Spencer gasped, the sensation of Ashley’s fingers sliding between her legs making the blonde’s eyes widen.

“Oh God, Spencer, you’re so wet” Ashley groaned, her mouth dipping to the curve of Spencer’s neck as her fingers lightly parted folds, finding the sensitive bundle of nerves within and brushing across it.

“Ashley!”

The cry filled the air as Spencer arched her hips into the contact and her hands flew down to grip the sheets. She pushed upwards, trying to find something, not really knowing what she was looking for but desperate for it anyway. Ashley leant up on one lean arm, looking down on the incredible sight of the blonde writhing beneath her. When Spencer’s blue, blue eyes were finally staring into her own, she slowly but firmly pushed two fingers deep inside the beautiful girl. Spencer parted her lips at the invasion, her breath caught in her throat as she felt herself being filled with more pleasure than she had ever known before. Arching into the now gentle thrusts, her pupils dilated and her heels dug into the bed. Her hands twisted the sheets as waves of pleasure built up inside her. Ashley’s mouth found one taut nipple, suckling and tasting, driving Spencer higher and higher. Spencer felt wet kisses trail down, over her rib cage and abdomen. Warm breath was on her thigh and then a soft, but strong tongue insistently thrust against her clitoris.

Senseless to anything that wasn’t Ashley and the delicious sensations she was creating in Spencer, the blonde found herself carried away on a tide she hadn’t known existed. Bucking her hips to the cadence of Ashley’s thrusts she cried out over and over as the tension built inside her, until it broke, stunning her and leaving the echoes of Ashley’s name bouncing around the room. Weak and shocked, she collapsed back against the mattress, sheets twisted beneath her where her hands had been frantic. She felt Ashley slide up her body, kissing her way back up to Spencer’s face where she cupped her jaw lightly and looked down into crystal-blue eyes now dark with latent pleasure.

“You’re amazing,” the brunette said softly. “Amazing.”

* * * * *

Chapter Fifteen

The girls stood in Ashley’s hall, the early morning air sneaking in under the front door and cooling their ankles as they entwined. Spencer pulled back from their kiss reluctantly and cupped Ashley’s tanned cheek with her hand, gazing into warm brown eyes that, even now, took her breath away.

“I have to go,” she murmured, feeling Ashley’s arms tighten around her and her mouth brush lightly over her own. She responded to the kiss despite her words.

“Don’t go…”Ashley murmured back, pulling out of the kiss and rubbing her nose gently along the side of Spencer’s. “Stay, and I’ll make it worth your while.”

Spencer chuckled softly but pulled away.

“I can’t. I have to go home, Gray will leave for work soon and Elly can’t stay alone.”

The mention of her husband changed the atmosphere palpably and Spencer stepped back, conscious of the change.

“Call me,” Ashley said, her brows furrowing. It wasn’t a question.

“Of course,” Spencer replied earnestly. “I’ll…” She reached out a hand, tucking one stray dark curl behind Ashley’s ear. “I’ll see you soon.” She also made it a statement, not a question.

She drove home in the milky quiet that was dawn, arriving back in time to still find Gray’s car in the drive. Mindful not to block him in, she made her way silently to the door, praying he was asleep when she got there.

No such luck. He was at the dining table with a cup of coffee, looking exhausted. He didn’t turn when she opened the door and she thought she might make it past him without anything being said. He caught her halfway to the hall.

“Where were you?”

She stopped, but mirroring his movements from the night before, she didn’t turn around.

“At a friend’s house.” She prayed she didn’t look too rumpled. She figured she could plead sleeping on a couch.

Or doing something on a couch.

“You just leave, just like that?” He sounded pissed off. Spencer wasn’t in the mood.

“I wasn’t home for four hours, Gray. I think on the balance of things that means I have a long way to go until I catch up to you.” She kept walking. If he replied, she ignored it and threw herself into the shower.

The water flowing over her body made rivulets as it streamed down onto the shower floor. Spencer closed her eyes and leaned back against one wall, feeling the water wash over her. She could still feel the trails that Ashley’s hands had left on her body like they were burnt into her skin, and the water did nothing to wash them away. And then the guilt hit. Her eyes slammed open as the magnitude of what had happened screamed through her. Pushing off from the wall, she grabbed the soap and scrubbed, harder and harder, as though she could erase the very essence of what she’d done by macerating her flesh. She stepped out of the shower raw and uneven.

Gray had disappeared when she made it back to the living room, rubbing her hair with a towel and trying to wiggle the last drop of water from her ear. She could hear Elly rousing in her room and, looking out the window, she knew Gray had left. She figured he had gone to work. As mad as she was at him for disregarding her opinions and wishes, she was beyond glad he wasn’t here today. She wasn’t sure that she wouldn’t have spontaneously combusted with the guilt if he had been.

For the third time in as many weeks, it was Elly who came to her rescue without even knowing it. The little girl bounded out of bed with so much energy that Spencer nearly forgot that she herself hadn’t slept, due to the contagiousness of it.

Or that she’d spent the last few hours having the best sex of her life.

Elly raced around the kitchen and made breakfast with Spencer’s help, and her cheerful nature buoyed Spencer’s spirits.

After they’d eaten, she signed to her daughter, “What do you want to do today?”

Elly looked serious and pensive. Then a look of pure happiness crossed her face and she signed, muddling up her words in the excitement, “Can we do anything??”

Spencer burst out laughing at the sudden change in Elly’s demeanour and nodded. “Anything,” she signed back, hoping she wasn’t getting herself in too deep and praying that it didn’t involve a trip to Elly’s beloved grandparents.

“THE ZOO!”

Spencer grinned at her daughter’s suggestion. The zoo sounded perfect. It took surprisingly little time to get ready and soon they were on their way. The day was perfect. Spencer let her mind ease away from her own troubles and just enjoyed the day with her beautiful daughter. She felt her heart squeeze every time her daughter giggled. It was the moment when they were standing, Elly up on the back of a viewing step with Spencer’s arms around her, that Spencer suddenly knew what was going on inside her. They were watching the elephants as a beautiful grey mother elephant washed her baby lovingly with water from the shallow pool. As the fountains of elephant water shot into the air and showered the baby who trumpeted with delight, Spencer watched her daughter’s face grow with awe and beauty. In that heralded moment, it was like Spencer’s mind cleared for just enough space and time that she knew, deep down inside, what was important and what wasn’t.

As the sun slowly set and they walked, hand-in-hand, away from the zoo, Spencer felt like the sun was also setting on her life. Today had been such a riot of emotions from midnight till now that she felt like she had been through the wringer. And yet, she was strangely calm and her sudden clarity was keeping her awake.

Quiet through the journey home, she watched Elly in the rear-view mirror as the little girl fell asleep. She was exhausted from their day of fun. Spencer, despite having had no sleep whatsoever, was anything but exhausted.

She carried her daughter inside and laid her on the couch, tucking her gently in with a blanket. She felt ridiculously calm as she moved around her house, tidying and making dinner. She was surprised that she still felt calm when she heard the door open and Gray came in.

“You’re early,” she commented, no particular emotion in her voice.

“Yeah. Thought I should spend some time out of the office,” he said. Spencer didn’t miss the reference. “Elly’s asleep?” Gray sounded confused after spotting her on the couch.

“Yeah, we had a big day so she’s a little tuckered out.” Spencer wrinkled her nose up with her smile and had a sudden stab of want as she pictured Ashley doing the same thing. She wiped the image from her mind as she felt her calm waver slightly. Getting a grip, she kept herself busy making dinner. Gray disappeared and soon the resonance of the shower echoed from down the hall. Her calm lasted well through dinner and putting Elly to bed. It lasted just long enough for her to come out and find Gray on the couch, flipping through channels randomly and apparently finding nothing to his liking.

“Gray,” she said softly, trying to get his attention. Either he didn’t hear her or he was ignoring her so she tried again. “Gray.” It was a little louder this time. He swung his head around.

“What is it?”

“We need to talk.”

Spencer watched him as he groaned slightly and rolled his eyes. “Again, Spence? Jesus, can’t I just have one day off? I really can’t be assed arguing with you tonight.”

“It’s not going to be like that, Gray,” she promised softly. “I don’t want to argue with you.”

“Good.” He turned back to the television. She waited for a few moments before rounding the side of the couch and standing at its edge, watching her husband. It took a few minutes of her standing there for him to turn his head and look at her questioningly. “What?”

“Gray…” Spencer looked at him, bathed in the light glow of the television, colours flickering on and off his face. “I’m leaving you.”

* * * * *

Next up: Chapters 16-20 [A]

13 Comments

  1. Posted 4 July 2008 at 1.58pm | Permalink

    Yes! she’s leaving him..

    It’s nice reading this one again knowing how it ended..

  2. clomle4
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 2.19pm | Permalink

    I got to the end and I was like “NO! I want more! I wanna know… what… happens.”

    Then realised I was an idiot of unparalleled level.

  3. dev0347
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 2.20pm | Permalink

    Do you need me to tell you how it ends, Boss? I’ve got 50 chapters of this bad boy on my desktop. I can totally give you spoilers.

  4. Payne N. Uranus
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 2.57pm | Permalink

    Haha, Clommy, you make me giggle like an idiot. I’ll forgive you someday for it.

    This is the first time, reading the bit about Liz and her apparently hostility towards Spencer, that I thought, “This could all be fixed with a simple flash of the left hand.” Sure, it wouldn’t have been as fun or whatever, but it would’ve saved Spencey from the meanness, with Spencer saying, “I’m married, bitch!”

    Yeah. Thank you Devinator. You make my eyes go big. Just don’t let Clommy make me laugh at the same time, ’cause then I’d probably look freaky.

    [Dev is just fine, thanks. Devinator is too much like a certain character from a story I beta’d very recently…]
    [Who says you don’t look freaky now – clom]

  5. Payne N. Uranus
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 3.16pm | Permalink

    I thought it was very flattering… oh well, Devy-poo it is, then.

    And Clom, what did I say about the hidden cameras?

    [You told me to add defog lenses]

  6. Melxgibs
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 8.25pm | Permalink

    WOOO!!!

  7. Payne N. Uranus
    Posted 4 July 2008 at 9.59pm | Permalink

    Yeah. And you didn’t. That’s why I look freaky. Your fault. So I expect you to fix it, but wait for me to get dressed.

  8. bannerman
    Posted 5 July 2008 at 11.45am | Permalink

    wow,reading this reminded me of just how much amazing stuff you’ve written clom. You’re a genius of gargantuan proportions with your writing – dunno about how clever you are with the everyday stuff though ;-) an idiot of unparalleled level indeed! cant wait to read more, Jxx

  9. pseudonym
    Posted 5 July 2008 at 11.52pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe I’ve never read this before! Thanks for posting this, Dev. When can we expect some more?

  10. Katie
    Posted 6 July 2008 at 3.14pm | Permalink

    :o wow! I just caught up with this fic !I am so excited and nervous for the next update!! great cliff hanger and i am glad that Spencer didn’t hang around too long to tell him after everything that happened with Ashley the night before. awesome story, i love it.

  11. lesmiserables1998
    Posted 7 July 2008 at 12.46am | Permalink

    I guess I should stop by this thread to say “thanks” for posting BFM. I think this was one of my demands, lol. You, both, are the greatest.

  12. xbrandxnewxcolonyx
    Posted 7 August 2008 at 7.09am | Permalink

    Oh man, this is one of the first fics that I read when I started reading Spashley fic. And despite having read hundreds of others since then it remains one of the best that I’ve read. It holds a special place in my heart. I remember just feeling so much while reading it. Spencer is so conflicted and is being pulled in all these different directions but ultimately she will only be content by taking the path that makes her heart happy. And I love the character of Elly. She adds so much to the fic. And the interactions between her and Ashley, and her and Spencer are just monumentally adorable. Kudos for this one, I will definitely be re-reading the whole thing.

  13. Puff
    Posted 27 August 2008 at 12.13am | Permalink

    I love this fic Sez and spent a lovely afternoon re-reading it. Of course it would be nice to have it all in one easy to read place (hint). Of course it did cheer me up after my crappy day.

    Oh btw any chance of continuing on with one legged spashley? I miss that story *pouts*.

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