Going My Way

I’m calling this a short one-shot for now, because I don’t know when I’ll add to it, even though I totally know where I want it to go.

Spashley mood piece thing.
Rated U.

* * * * *

Helensburg, South Carolina: September 1970

“Spence! Hey, Spence!” Glen called. “You gotta do me a favour.”

Spencer closed her biology book and got up off her bed and wandered out in the hallway. Her brother was standing downstairs, his hands on his hips. She leaned over the railing and stared down at him.

“What now, Glen?” With her brother, there was always something he wanted or needed that somehow got her roped into trouble of one kind or another.

“You know Aiden Dennison? He used to room with me before he got traded up to Triple-A?”

She had a vague image of a tall boy, dark hair past his collar, but she didn’t think they had ever spoken. “Vaguely.”

“You need to go out with him tomorrow night.”

“Glen, stop trying to fix me up with your friends. I’ve told you before that I’m not interested.”

He ran his fingers through his shaggy curls and rubbed the back of his head. “And you know I’m just looking out for you. It’s not right that you’re locked up in your room, night after night, hitting the books instead of letting some guy hit on you.”

Spencer shook her head. “That’s lame, Glen. You just want the house to yourself. Do I even have to remind you that this is my house, not yours?”

“Mom and Dad paid for it, so it’s kinda mine, too. Is it wrong that I want to look out for you and maybe do myself a little favour, too?”

“Mom and Dad gave me the down payment from my half of the money that Grandma Carlin left us both and I pay the mortgage every month with no help from you. That makes it my house.” They had had this argument so many times before, but it never seemed to make any difference. “Who is it this time?”

“I resent that. There’s no ‘this time’. It’s still Grace and we’ve been together for four months.”

“And you were on the road half that time. You saying that you never get a little companionship while you’re away?”

Glen grinned. “What can I say? The life of a professional baseball player is an exotic one. It’s not my fault that women are drawn to my physical prowess.”

“You’re on a minor league team that makes you pay toward the cost of the team bus, you live with your sister and you sell Lady Kenmores at Sears to make ends meet. Yeah, you’re a regular Steve McQueen.”

Glen shook his head. “Does that mean you’re going to go?”

“I don’t see why I have to. No sane woman is going to put out for your ugly mug, so you won’t need the privacy.”

Glen clasped his hands over his heart and gave her a wounded look. “That hurts, baby sis. I am a young man in love and I just want a nice romantic evening alone with my best girl.”

“You are a sex pest and you’re trying to corrupt that poor girl.” Grace worked the perfume counter at the same Sears in Columbia where Glen sold household goods. While Spencer didn’t really like the girl all that much, she didn’t wish her brother’s advances on anyone.

“Well, I already told him to pick you up at 5.30pm sharp tomorrow, so you can’t back out.”

“Glen! That’s not fair! You have to call him and tell him that I’m not coming. Look, I’ll go to a movie or something, get a bite to eat. I’ll give you plenty of time to do whatever Grace will let you do.”

“He doesn’t have a phone.”

“Everyone has a phone.”

“Aiden doesn’t.”

“Go round and tell him, then.”

“I’m working all day tomorrow.”

“So? You got me into this and you can get me out of it.”

“Spencer! Come on, help a man out here.”

She sighed and gave in as gracefully as she could. “I hate you more than anything in this world.”

“You’re a doll, little sis. Oh, and don’t come back before, say, midnight.” Glen winked at her and then wandered toward the kitchen, whistling happily to himself.

Spencer went back to her room and lay on the bed, linking her hands behind her head and staring up. Overhead, a ceiling fan did nothing but push the warm air around the room. She wished she could afford central air, but even a window-mounted unit would push the electric bill beyond what she could afford with so little help from Glen, so they sweated it out all summer long, just waiting for the moments when a breeze swept across Lake Murray and made everything mildly tolerable for a while. It wasn’t usually that bad by late September, but they were in the middle of an Indian summer, the temperature spiking well above eighty for the last few days.

She didn’t mind going out for the night to give Glen some private time, but she wished he hadn’t set her up with one of his old teammates. She wasn’t brave enough to tell her brother that she liked girls. Although she had never put it into practice, she knew she liked them in the way she was supposed to like boys.

Maybe that was something that you could admit if you lived in New York City or San Francisco, but it wasn’t exactly something that happened in Helensburg or even back in Ohio where their parents lived. Where she came from, attitudes hadn’t changed too much from the 1950s. Nice white girls married nice white boys. There was no living in sin before marriage, very little racial mixing and definitely no homosexuality.

That didn’t change the fact that all of Spencer’s crushes to date had been on female teachers or classmates. The few boyfriends that she had in high school hadn’t interested her at all. Kissing them had been more like a science experiment than something she actually enjoyed.

There had been one kiss that made a difference, though: Audrey, her best friend from high school, had kissed her on the lips once. They were just messing around, talking about Audrey’s boyfriend, Kevin, and how he was a terrible kisser, all closed mouth at first and then all wet tongue thereafter. Audrey leaned forward, rubbing her lips sloppily against Spencer, showing her what she meant. While, at the time, she played along, dissolved in laughter and mocked Kevin for his lack of prowess, it had shaken her up hard. She barely slept for the next week, plagued by the fact that nothing had ever felt so good.

And then, of course, there was The Girl. Although she’d seen her just over a year ago, Spencer remembered her with almost perfect clarity.

She’d been driving home along the lakeshore when she spotted a barefoot girl walking along the grass at the roadside. A child, probably around a year old, was cradled against her hip. The late sun was behind her, casting them in a reddish glow. She was shredding the petals from a flower in her hand, and letting them fly away in the breeze, murmuring to the child as she did so.

It felt like a scene from a movie or perhaps a dream. The girl was unearthly, some perfect being transported into the unlikely surroundings of Lake Murray. She was around Spencer’s age and had long, dark hair and warm brown eyes. She was wearing a pair of shorts and a bikini top, a towel slung over her shoulder. Her body was perfection, tanned and toned and glistening with water droplets. She and the child had obviously been swimming in the lake.

The scant moments that it took Spencer to drive past them seemed to move in slow motion. And the girl looked straight at her, smiling in a puzzled way, as if she recognised Spencer but couldn’t place where she knew her from. Spencer actually felt her mouth go dry as she slowed down, not even really aware that she was doing so. And then she rolled to a halt about a hundred yards behind them and looked in the rear view mirror. The girl was looking back, her smile turning from puzzled to amused, and she was the most beautiful thing Spencer had ever seen.

To this day, Spencer had no idea why she got out of the car, but she did. She got out and left the door open, leaning on the roof and smiling back.

“You need a ride?” she asked. She’d never stopped and offered a stranger a ride in her life, and the girl hadn’t even been indicating that she wanted one.

“It doesn’t look as if you’re going my way.” Her voice was slow and easy and rich—not local, but still unmistakably Southern, maybe lower Georgia or northern Florida—and it made Spencer’s heart flip-flop, not to mention a few notable physical reactions in other, more base places.

“I could be.” Spencer’s eyes widened at her own statement.

“I just bet you could.” She grinned, a thing of joy and effortless charm which caused her nose to crinkle and dimples to appear on her cheeks, and Spencer fell instantly in love.

There was a long moment where all they did was stare at each other and smile, and then the heavy diesel sound of a pick-up making its way around the far side of the lake startled them both. The girl turned towards it.

“I should go,” she said.

“Is that your ride?” Even as she asked, the pick-up pulled onto the grass and the owner got out, not sparing either of them a glance. Probably just a weekend fisherman hoping to catch some dinner.

“Nah. My daddy’s picking us up from the mile marker.” She jerked her head over her shoulder to the signpost a little ways up the road.

“Oh.” Spencer desperately tried to think of something, anything to prolong the conversation, but her mind was drawing a complete blank, able to form no coherent thought.

“Thanks for the offer, though.”

“You’re quite welcome.”

“Am I now?” The girl seemed amused by Spencer’s formality, and there was a definite look in her eyes which Spencer couldn’t place at all, but which made her warm and tingly and completely flustered. All she wanted to do was stand there for the next thirty or forty years and bask in it, though.

The little boy started to get restless, a little hitch in his breath like he was about to cry, so the girl hoisted him up and rubbed her face against his, making nonsense sounds until his mewling turned to giggles. Spencer frowned to herself because she felt irrationally jealous of the attention paid to him.

“I should—” Spencer nodded towards her own car.

“Yeah.” The girl turned the child in her arms until he was draped over her shoulder, his head cradled to her neck.

She walked back to her car, and got in, but she found herself incapable of starting it. She sat, her hands on the wheel, watching the girl watch her in the mirror. And they stayed that way for a minute or so, neither of them moving, until another car, a Mercedes sedan which the girl obviously recognised, pulled up by the mile marker.

Spencer still couldn’t move, and the girl was still looking back as she turned and walked towards the other vehicle. Then she clasped the boy more tightly to her and ran back, stopping by Spencer’s passenger window. She pulled the door open and stuck her head inside, ignoring the unhappy noises coming from the boy.

“I would’ve said yes.” The girl laughed, self-conscious and a little embarrassed. “I just wanted you to know that I would’ve said yes.”

Before Spencer had a chance to ask what that even meant, the girl sprinted off, the boy held against her. And the last Spencer saw of her was a private little wave as she got into her father’s car, which pulled into a turn immediately and headed back towards Columbia.

She had never seen her again, but Spencer had dreamt many, many times of that perfect girl. Those dreams thrilled and confused her in equal measure, but they proved one thing: Spencer liked girls. It was wrong, and she’d surely go to Hell for it, but she couldn’t stop thinking about that girl in that way.

As she flopped over onto her stomach, the still night air was broken by the click-hum of a truck approaching. She could hear Kenny Rogers playing on the truck’s radio, begging Ruby not to take her love to town just because he’d been paralysed in the war. It was a grim reminder that Tommy, the boy across the road, the one driving the truck home from his long shift at the lumber mill, had pulled a low number in the draft and would be called up in the new year.

There were worse things, she realised, than wanting the wrong things.

17 Comments

  1. Meech
    Posted 6 January 2015 at 7.30pm | Permalink

    You tease. This can’t just be a one-shot! I will hold hope, even if updates may be infrequent, that this will continue.

  2. Je t'aime
    Posted 6 January 2015 at 8.06pm | Permalink

    Oh I can definitely see the potential in this! Thanks so much for posting. Any little Spashley that you put out is always so ace!

  3. Lyn
    Posted 7 January 2015 at 3.46am | Permalink

    Ok so it’s like 3:30 AM where I live when I saw a new post here, so I couldn’t stop myself from reading. Gotta say, this does not even remotely feel like a one shot, but like the beginning of a good story! I hope you continue this, can’t wait to read more:)

  4. Devje
    Posted 7 January 2015 at 12.20pm | Permalink

    My problem is that this is the start and I’ve written the end. I need a middle. Let me think on it.

  5. Carla
    Posted 7 January 2015 at 2.55pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting. I hope you continue this. I’ve really missed your Spahley fanfics!

  6. Jennabot
    Posted 7 January 2015 at 3.17pm | Permalink

    You better get on the middle lol. I’ll wait.

  7. Gis
    Posted 7 January 2015 at 11.50pm | Permalink

    Love it! So, so happy to see Spashley back! Thank you and I hope your muse will assist you on finding the middle for this story. Your Spashley stories are just incredibly good, very happy that you are still writing it. Thank you!!

  8. mysamsiam
    Posted 8 January 2015 at 1.38am | Permalink

    Oh God! I’m a shameless lurker and I’ve never left a comment despite loving your Spashley stories. I’ve missed them so very much. I’m happy to read this and hope you continue. This is too good to be a one-shot.

  9. Samai
    Posted 8 January 2015 at 9.14am | Permalink

    Yes! A new Spashley to read. Bummed the fandom is fading with all the new ones out there. I love your stories and thanks so much for keeping it alive. Looking forward to this one, and hopefully, possibly, maybe, the ending of the fish story, “Coming Up For Air?”

  10. SonIluv
    Posted 15 January 2015 at 4.35am | Permalink

    *sqeals* Spashley in 1970!? ashley in a bikini and shorts!? … i<3 this already!

  11. SonIluv
    Posted 15 January 2015 at 4.54am | Permalink

    btw … Spencer’s memory of (i assume it’s ashley) is set to The Zombies’ It’s the time of the season in my head lol . I’m picturing Spencer driving squinting into the sun and the beginning of that song comes on the radio(♫doom doom doom chhh ahh doom doom doom chhh ahhh♫) as the sun lets up she notices legs n as her eyes find her way up n notes the towel and water droplets and wavy tousled beach hair with some hippie- like braids pulled back (♫what’s your name♫ ) n then those gorgeous eyes (♫who’s your daddy♫)n so on…. :) anyways…. good stuff hehe

  12. Devje
    Posted 15 January 2015 at 9.19am | Permalink

    Oh, that’s a good call, and a great song!

  13. SonIluv
    Posted 14 March 2015 at 9.06pm | Permalink

    did you come up with anything else for this story? *grins expectantly* …..my birthday is Thursday….. jus putting that out there :) hehe please and thank you and I hope all is well in your world! <3

  14. Devje
    Posted 22 April 2015 at 12.27pm | Permalink

    I’ve written about another 5k words, but it’ll probs be 10k before it’s finished. No promises on timelines, though.

  15. Samia
    Posted 7 May 2015 at 4.32pm | Permalink

    Darn…Was just checking

  16. Lada Anjela
    Posted 8 August 2015 at 9.47am | Permalink

    MOC PROSÍM, až tady z Prahy z velké dáli, prosím pokračovat ;-)

  17. Gelique
    Posted 10 March 2016 at 3.05pm | Permalink

    Dev, it’s over a year. You know how you are my fave writer ever, right? I just notice that whenever you write Spashley stories, you get a lot of favorites and comments. Please satiate with more!

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