DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never were. Not making any $$. Don't HAVE any $$. Don't sue.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first SoN fic. I haven't seen all the episodes; so, bear with me while I learn the characters.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: All but mostly 'Friends with Benefits'.

Down to One
By Aeryn Sun



"I have to be home soon," Spencer sighed as she leaned on Ashley's chest, listening to the subtle thumping under her ear. She knew that she would be perfectly happy listening to that soft sound for the rest of her life. She felt completely at peace, totally safe and like she finally belonged somewhere, with Ashley.

Ashley was dozing slightly as they cuddled and snorted as she woke.

"Boo, hiss," she mumbled sleepily. She yawned. "Let's stay here forever." Spencer giggled.

"I'd love that. Unfortunately I think my mother would report me as kidnapped," she pointed out. She felt the rumble of Ashley's laughter in the brunette's chest and it sent shivers across her own skin.

"Oh I can see it now," Ashley started. "'Help, my daughter's been kidnapped by a horrible, devil worshipping, sinning, evil lesbian with impure intentions'." Spencer giggled and smacked Ashley lightly on the tummy.

"Funny," she said, feeling Ashley's hands move to pet her hair. "I don't wanna go home but I promised my dad." She felt herself being lulled into drowsiness by Ashley's hands in her hair. She smiled to herself, thinking about how tactile Ashley was.

There was rarely a time when they were together that the older girl wasn't somehow touching her. Even as they slept, if they rolled apart, Spencer would wake to feel at least Ashley's foot touching her own. As though, even in slumber Ashley felt the unconscious need to assure herself that Spencer was still there. Spencer thought it was adorable and she tended to find herself doing the same thing. She felt like she couldn't sleep well if she wasn't in contact with some part of her girlfriend.

(I hope that doesn't border on obsessed) she wondered. She then shrugged it off as being in love.

"Yeah, I understand," Ashley agreed. "Come on, let's get you packed up and I'll take you home." Spencer stood up reluctantly.

"Come stay with me?" she asked suddenly, making Ashley freeze in mid-motion as she went to get up.

"Are you nuts? And get within your mother's line of fire? No thanks," Ashley scoffed. "She'll blast me to pieces before I could get in the door."

"My mother doesn't exactly carry a bazooka in her purse," Spencer pouted. "I don't want you to be all alone here in the room. It's a nice room and all but it's not a home.

"Aw, Spence, you're so cute," Ashley gushed, touched at her girlfriends concern for her. She knew she'd be lonely as hell that night, away from Spencer but also not able to be home comfortable in her own bed.

"I'll be fine here, hon," she wrapped her arms around Spencer from behind, pressing her palms against the warm skin of Spencer's exposed abdomen. She kissed the nape of her girlfriend's neck and leaned in close to her ear.

"As much as I'd love to spend another night like last night with you, Spencer, as well as the rest of my life," she said softly, hearing Spencer gasp but not wanting to talk too much about it. She honestly saw herself with Spencer for the rest of her life. But it was still too early to think such things so she moved on.

"You know your mother would put me on that lumpy ass couch of yours and then neither of us would get any sleep because we'd be too busy thinking about how close we are but not able to do anything. And I'm not good in that sorta situation because I tend to just say 'fuck it' and I'd try to sneak to your room and we'd get caught."

As she spoke, she let her hands wander down, cupping Spencer's heat and hearing the younger girl gasp.

"Mmmm, you're hot, baby," she purred into Spencer's ear, stroking lightly against Spencer through the thin material of her underwear. Spencer hissed and arched into the warm body pressed into her back, wrapping her arm behind her in Ashley's hair.

"Yeah," she gasped, hips starting to rock into Ashley's touch. She couldn't believe how fast her desire for Ashley was building; it seemed to be burning her from the inside out. She never wanted her passion for Ashley to diminish or change; and she doubted it ever would.

She moaned loudly when Ashley's deft fingers dove under her panties and slipped through her wet sex, seeking and finding all the spots that brought Spencer the most pleasure. Before long, Spencer's breathing became ragged, whimpers and moans tumbling from her parted lips as she grew closer to her release.

"I love the way you sound, Spencer," Ashley growled, nipping at the blonde's ear. "The way you whimper and moan…the way your breath hitches…"

"Ashley…" Spencer moaned in such a way that Ashley tingled from her head to the tip of her toes. Her eyes closed and she leaned in closer to the slightly larger body in her arms.

"That's it, Spence…let go…" she encouraged softly. Spencer gasped roughly then grunted sharply as she climaxed. Ashley felt the way Spencer's body shook and held her tight, not letting her fall from the embrace as the blonde rode out the orgasm. She then held her as Spencer fought to catch her breath.

Spencer turned around in Ashley's arms and snuggled in close, resting her head on the brunette's shoulder. She knew that the only reason she was still standing was Ashley's grip on her. Her legs felt like mush. She lifted her head and kissed Ashley, careful of the sore spot where she'd bitten her girlfriend. She felt slightly guilty that she'd done it but couldn't really remember when it occurred.

"I love you, Ashy," she whispered. She watched a smile spread across the older girl's face.

"You too, baby," Ashley responded. They held each other for a few minutes before Ashley pulled away, gripping Spencer's hand and tugging her along with her.

"Come on, we have time for a shower before we go."



Ashley reluctantly dropped Spencer off just in time for dinner. They'd gotten a bit carried away in the shower and lost track of time. Not that either of them really cared. Spencer smiled as she replayed the wet fun they'd had, listening again in her head to Ashley's moans and pants as they bounced off the shower walls. That was something she knew she'd never tire of.

"You're late," her mother snapped as Spencer put her bags at the bottom of the staircase, careful not to crush the multi-colored bouquet of flowers. She casually checked her watch and shook her head.

"Nope, still have ten minutes before the time Dad told me to be home," she said smugly, determined not to let her mother's attitude ruin her fantastic mood. Paula glared at her.

"Don't you get smart with me, young lady," the elder Carlin warned. "Where have you been all weekend? Your father would only say that you were out with a friend. I swear, Spencer, if it was that girl…"

"Yes, actually, it was Ashley," Arthur broke in from the doorway to the kitchen. Paula spun around to glare at him while Spencer tried to hide the grin she could feel tugging on her lips.

"And you didn't see fit to tell me, her mother, that she was out with that…that miscreant?" Spencer's eyebrows rose.

"'Miscreant? You can call her a 'miscreant' but can't remember her name?" she asked, insulted. Paula turned her head towards her daughter.

"I remember her name, Spencer. And I thought that I made it clear how I felt about you being friends with her," Paula argued. Spencer tilted her head.

"You told me that I was going to burn in hell," she said simply and shrugged. "And I don't agree with you. So what's for dinner, Dad?" Spencer walked past her mother and headed towards the kitchen, only to have her arm grabbed by Paula.

"I'm still talking to you!" Paula yelled. Spencer yanked her arm away angrily.

"You're not talking, Mom. You're judging," Spencer retorted. Arthur walked closer and managed to put himself in between the female Carlins.

"Spencer's right, Paula. You're not talking to her, you're talking at her," he said quietly. Paula rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Of course, Arthur, take her side; be the 'cool' parent while I'm the 'unfair' one," she huffed.

"Paula, it's not about that…" Arthur began.

"You want me to 'talk'? Fine, Spencer, what are these flowers? And what is in all those bags?" Paula asked, gesturing rather wildly to the bags at the bottom of the stairs. Spencer fought the urge to sigh as she responded.

"The roses were a gift and Ashley and I went shopping yesterday," she explained, feeling her stomach rumble. "I'm hungry; are we eating soon?"

"Shopping? Spencer, you don't have enough money for this stuff," Paula said, walking over and opening the top of a few bags. Spencer ran over and batted her hands away.

"Hey! Those are mine and could you at least try and pretend to respect my privacy?" she snarled, pissed that her mother was trying to go through her things. Plus there were a few things in those bags she'd prefer that her mother didn't see, ever.

"I think I have a right to see what you're wasting your money on," Paula said snottily.

"Actually, it's Spencer's money and she can spend it on what she wants," Arthur countered.

"Oh come on!" Paula raged. Spencer took the opportunity to grab her bags and head upstairs to put them in the relative safety of her room.

She could hear her parents yelling at the bottom of the stairs but tried to block the sound out. She was still in too good a mood to let anything ruin it. She was putting the flowers in a vase of water when her phone chirped, making her smile widely. Flipping it open, she read the message from Ashley.

[[Miss u already. Pick u up 4 skool. (3 lots xxxx -A]]

She typed her answer as her father called her down for supper.

[[Miss u 2. Call u l8r. Luv u lots. xxxx–S]]

The dinner table was subdued, her mother's fuming almost visible over the dinner of chicken marinara and pasta. Paula kept glaring at Arthur whenever she wasn't giving Spencer her 'disappointed mother' look. Spencer ignored it, content to eat her dinner and occupy herself with thoughts of her sexy girlfriend.

"Spencer!" her mother shouted, starling Spencer out of a particularly enjoyable memory. She jumped in her seat and dragged her attention to the present.

"Huh? What?" she stuttered. She saw Glen snickering across the table from her and kicked him hard under the table.

"Ow!" he yelped, sending her a glare. Clay just smiled and shook his head.

"Sorry, I was thinking," Spencer offered as explanation. She looked expectantly at her mother whose expression was dark.

"I asked you where you were all weekend," Paula asked in a neutral tone. "No one told me where you were and I think I have a right to know." Spencer bit her bottom lip and tried to think of a way to explain what happened without 'outing' herself to her family at the kitchen table. As secure as she was feeling in her relationship with Ashley, as far over the moon in happiness she was, she wasn't ready to lay it all out there for her family, especially her judgmental and narrow-minded mother and Glen.

"Ashley's mother told her that she had to leave for the weekend so she rented a hotel room…" Spencer started, flinching as she said that last part, knowing her mother was going to hit the ceiling.

"WHAT? A HOTEL ROOM?" Paula roared. Spencer tilted her head and sighed.

"Yes, Mom, a hotel room. One with double beds and I slept in one and she slept in the other," Spencer said sarcastically, instantly upset with herself for the lie. And then more so upset with her mother for being the way she was and making her lie to protect herself.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," she concluded. She stood up and walked to the dishwasher to put her plate away.

"Where are you going? You aren't excused," Paula asked angrily. Spencer turned to face her.

"I'm done eating. I'm not going to sit here and let you ambush me about my weekend, which I enjoyed, by the way. I'm especially not going to let you berate me and my choice of friends in front of Glen and Clay. That's not right or fair. So, I'm going to my room to finish my homework." Satisfied that she said everything she wanted, she walked past the table, pausing to kiss her father on the head and headed to her room.

(I'm probably going to be in trouble later but what the hell. I was not going to let her talk to me like I'd done something wrong…and definitely not going to put up with it in front of my brothers.)

She closed the door to her room and with a wide smile, dialed Ashley's number.



They fell into their comfortable pattern of 'close friends' at school the next day, each girl longing to have the ability to just reach out and hold the other but knowing that they weren't quite to that point yet. Ashley was feeling rather proud of herself since she had no desire to push Spencer any faster then the girl was willing to go. They were happy together on their own time and for now, she was more than satisfied with the situation.

"Hey, Ash, what happened to the rest of the roses?" Spencer asked as Ashley chewed on a stick from her Twix candy bar. Ashley smiled.

"I hope you don't mind but I had some of them sent over to the pediatrics ward and the rest to a convalescent home," she explained.

"Oh Ashley, that was so sweet," Spencer gushed, touched by what her girlfriend had thought to do. Ashley shrugged, a light blush tinting her cheeks.

"Whatever," she scoffed, feeling embarrassed. "So how's your day going?" Spencer crinkled her nose.

"Ug, I forgot I had a 3 page paper on Medieval knights due today," she whined. "Now I have a week's detention. My mother is going to kill me."

"God I hope she doesn't ground you," Ashley sighed, the thought of yet another grounding keeping them apart annoying her. She knew that part of her annoyance was the fact that Spencer's militant mother was doing her best to keep them apart. But having come from a home where there was virtually no parental control, Paula's constant attempts to run Spencer's life were foreign to her.

"Aww, would Ashy miss me?" Spencer teased, tilting her head and batting her eyelashes while she smiled. Ashley laughed, a sound that danced across Spencer's skin and made her tingle. She loved Ashley's laugh; loved it even more when she caused it to happen.

Ashley looked around the crowded courtyard at their classmates, all in various staged of eating lunch before leaning in close to Spencer's ear. Hidden by dual curtains of chestnut and blonde hair, she licked the sensitive cusp of the organ, feeling Spencer shiver.

"I'll miss being able to go down on you; licking you, thrusting my tongue deep inside you, tasting you and feeling you cum in my mouth, screaming my name," she purred seductively. She heard Spencer's low, needy moan and smiled to herself.

"I wanna be inside you, feel how hot and wet you are for me. If you get grounded then I won't be able to. I'll have to touch myself while thinking about you and I'd rather it was you touching me."

"Ashley," Spencer's voice was low in warning. Ashley stood back and faced her girlfriend, smirking as she took in the other girl's darkened indigo eyes and flushed cheeks as well as the way she shifted uncomfortably on the bench. She ran her tongue over her injured lip, wetting them and seeing Spencer's eyes widen marginally at the action.

"Yes, Spencer?" she responded, innocently. Spencer arched an eyebrow.

"Trust me, you are not 'sweet and innocent'," she pointed out with a laugh. She wanted Ashley so badly just then; well actually she'd wanted her since they had parted a day earlier. But now thanks to Ashley's whispered 'something's' she was throbbing with want.

"Attentions students: please report to the auditorium for an assembly. All students are to report to the auditorium for an assembly."

"Ew, I hate assemblies," Spencer complained.

Ashley looked out over the parking lot and growled when she saw several teachers guarding the exits. There was no way that she and Spencer could escape the assembly for more interesting pursuits. As if reading Ashley's mind, Spencer laughed and grabbed the brunette's hand.

"Guess we'll just have to wait until later," she said, pulling her girlfriend towards the building.

Caught in the throng of students, the two went with the flow. Upon entering the massive auditorium, Ashley pulled Spencer to the last row in the back by the corner. It was darker in that corner and Ashley had an idea.

"Spencer, I'll be right back," she said, dashing off. Spencer sat next to the wall and watched as Ashley found Aiden and talked to him for a moment before he stripped off his light jacket and handed it to her. Ashley then headed back to where Spencer was sitting.

"Here, the air conditioning is right above us and I thought you might get cold," she explained, putting the light green jacket over the blonde's lap. Smiling, Spencer nodded and grasped Ashley's hand as the assembly began, keeping the embrace hidden by the coat.

She noticed, while some gentleman on stage talked about self-esteem and unity that there was no one sitting as far back as they were. She squeezed Ashley's hand feeling the older girl's thumb stroking the skin on the back of her own. Ashley gave her a smile and turned back to the assembly.

Ten minutes later, Ashley removed her hand and stretched, popping her neck and back while Spencer watched a film on 'peer acceptance'. Smiling to herself, Ashley slipped her hand back below the jacket but instead of clasping Spencer's hand again, she let her hand wander lower. She cupped Spencer's core through her pants, earning herself a gasp of surprise and a shocked look. Keeping her own eyes forward, she pushed against Spencer, stroking slowly through the material of her jeans.

"Ashley!" Spencer hissed quietly.

"Hmmmm?" Ashley answered, still not looking at her girlfriend whose hips she could feel moving slightly.

"What are you doing?" Spencer asked, almost desperate. Her mind was saying that they couldn't do this here, that they'd get caught. Her body however was saying 'fuck it, I need it now' in loud ways. Ashley finally turned her head and looked at Spencer.

"I'm touching you," she rumbled. Spencer found herself hard pressed to tell her beautiful girlfriend to stop what she was doing, especially in the face of the intent, lustful look that heated up soulful brown eyes.

She whimpered softly as Ashley rubbed harder. She could feel the heat between her legs growing as well as the moisture. She wasn't sure that she could stand Ashley teasing her like this in this situation.

"Ashley," she growled, their voices hidden from others by the ambient noise of the auditorium as well as the presentation going on up on the stage. Ashley was again focused on the stage, even as agile fingers unclasped the button of Spencer's jeans and dragged the zipper down. Spencer's hips twitched in the seat while Ashley's long digits slipped under her pants and pressed against her wet sex through her panties.

"God, you're wet," Ashley moaned into Spencer's ear, nipping at it quickly. She was being careful to make sure no one was looking at them. Even if there were, she knew that as long as Spencer stayed relatively quiet, no one would see what was going on beneath the jacket. Spencer groaned and arched closer, biting her lip to stay quiet.

"Ashley," she moaned. God help her, she wanted to feel more. Ashley teased her flesh, pressing against the cotton of her panties, applying just enough pressure to slowly build Spencer's need but not push her over the edge. Long minutes passed. She could feel herself getting closer as Ashley stroked and circled.

There was light sheen of sweat developing on the blonde's forehead as she rocked in her chair, breath coming in quiet gasps and throaty murmurs. Ashley could tell that her girlfriend was getting closer, the fingernails digging into her forearm were a good clue that Spencer needed more.

Ashley bit her own lip, her need to feel Spencer overwhelming her. She slid her fingers under the waste band of Spencer's panties, swallowing a moan as she slipped through her girlfriend's wetness.

"Christ, Ashley," Spencer gasped, her pelvis surging towards the touch and her head falling back. She felt Ashley's fingers gliding around her clit, teasing it and flicking across the tip. With each action, the fire in Spencer's belly grew hotter, brighter and she spiraled closer to her climax.

"Please…" she whimpered, hips bucking into each touch. She felt Ashley's hot breath on her neck, making her shiver.

"MMmmm, this is what I wanted…to feel you, hot and wet against my fingers, panting and moaning for me," Ashley husked. She increased the pressure of the two fingers torturing Spencer's clit, moving them to flick over the top and then pinch. Spencer drew in a ragged breath.

"Ashley!" she squeaked as she came, the muscles of her stomach contracting, making her draw her legs up slightly. Ashley felt the flow of warmth around her fingers and stroked slowly, waiting for the waves of pleasure to pass. Soon, Spencer fell back against the chair, sweaty and limp.

Ashley withdrew her fingers and nonchalantly sucked on them, savoring Spencer's flavor. She looked over at her girlfriend and smiled at the dreamy expression on the blonde's face.

"I don't hate assemblies anymore," Spencer murmured.



"I can't believe you just gave him back his jacket without saying anything," Spencer blushed, beyond mortified as she climbed into Ashley's SUV. Ashley just laughed, closing her door and starting the car.

"What did you want me to tell him, babe? 'You might wanna wash that before you wear it again since about twenty minutes ago, Spencer had an earth-shattering orgasm under it'? Oh my God, he'd never wash it again!"

Spencer smacked her lightly on the arm as Ashley pulled out of her parking place and headed for the exit.

"Hey, I thought you had detention," Ashley remembered. Spencer nodded.

"I did. But with the assembly running late and the way I seemed, 'flushed and feverish' according to my teacher," she smiled shyly at Ashley. "He gave me until Wednesday to do it. So that is how I plan to spend tonight, researching and writing because there is no way I'm getting detention and giving my mother something else to blame you for."

"Sounds like a good plan, babe," Ashley agreed. Truthfully she had a ton of homework to catch up with herself. And she wanted to do better in school now that she was with Spencer. Before Spencer entered her life, Ashley barely bothered to attend class and rarely did her homework. As far as she was concerned when she was old enough she was going to drop out and pursue her music with her father's help. Then Spencer entered her life and school suddenly seemed less boring and she had a reason to go. Knowing how important it was to Spencer made it important to Ashley.

Ashley really liked the changes to her life that Spencer was bringing; the decline in self-destructive behavior being the foremost change. For the first time, since early childhood, Ashley felt secure in something, she felt comfortable and safe with Spencer. She didn't have the same impulse to act out like she usually did. Even when she was with Aiden and things were good, she'd periodically had the desire to do something for the attention it'd earn her. Most of the time it was negative attention but it was attention nonetheless. But with Spencer, she didn't feel any of that need; she got all the attention she needed from the gentle blonde.

She felt Spencer grasp her hand from where it had been resting on the driveshaft and smiled.

"You have beautiful hands," Spencer said softly, tracing the long fingers on the musician's hands with her own. "Piano hands." Ashley snickered.

"That's a good thing since I like playing the piano," she said cheekily. Spencer kissed the tip of each finger, making a pleasant shiver run up the arm and over Ashley's back.

"You should play for me sometime," the blonde requested. Ashley nodded.

"Anytime, babe. Just ask," she said honestly. She'd love to play for Spencer, her own private audience.

"Ooo, when you get famous, will I become your number 1 groupie?" Spencer asked, giggling.

"No, hon," Ashley laughed. "You'll be the girlfriend that chases all the hormonally driven groupies away." Spencer pouted.

"I wanted to be a groupie," she whined. Ashley laughed harder.

"Oh, you will be, Spence. You'll just be the only groupie that I sleep with." Spencer squeezed her hand and smiled.

"I'd better be," she growled playfully. "I already told you that I was the possessive Carlin." Ashley glanced at her and waggled her eyebrows.

"And oh how I love your possessive side," she purred, making Spencer blush. Ashley rolled her tongue, making a 'rrrRRRRrrrlll' sound. Spencer shook her head and giggled.

"You're gonna call me tonight, right?" Spencer asked as the car stopped in front of her neighbor's house a few doors down. They were careful not to give Paula any reason to get angrier than she was or ground Spencer again.

"You know it, chica," Ashley grinned. "Besides, I need you to check my Algebra homework answers over the phone so that I don't fail the class completely." Spencer leaned over and kissed Ashley lightly on the lips, careful not to let it get too involved lest someone catch them.

"You are smarter than you give yourself credit for," she said quietly. "As long as you don't answer them all with '42' like last time…" Ashley shrugged.

"That'll teach you to let me watch 'Hitchhiker's' while doing homework," she winked. Spencer rolled her eyes and opened the door.

"You are such a closet sci-fi goofball, Spazzy Perv," she joked.

"That's 'Shexay Spazzy Perv' to you, missy!" Ashley called out when Spencer closed the door. Spencer laughed and waved as she walked to her house. Ashley waited a few minutes after Spencer was gone to pull back onto the road in case Mrs. Carlin was watching. She wasn't sure if the elder blonde would recognize her car or not but didn't want to take the chance. The last thing she wanted was to make Paula angry with Spencer.

She didn't really dislike Paula so much as she couldn't figure her out. She was a doctor, had a real job; she made lunches for her children, cooked dinner most nights and took her children out to the movies and everything. She actually spent time with all three and was genuinely interested in their lives, however overbearing she could be. Then she was quite possibly cheating on a man that Ashley thought was fantastic, both as an individual and also as a father. It was sometimes like she was two different people. Ashley hoped that that duality wasn't genetic.

She cranked up the radio, singing along with Natasha Bedingfield and trying not to think about the bag full of homework that was awaiting her.



"No, Ashley, the answer is not '42'!" Spencer laughed into her phone. She heard Ashley huff on the other end.

"Spence, I swear I've done the problem six times and I keep getting '42'!" she protested. She was sure that this one time she was right. "Are you sure that you didn't get it wrong?"

"I suppose," she agreed. "It is possible. Let me redo it and see what I get."

Ashley waited patiently while Spencer talked her way through the tricky math problem. Ashley hated math and honestly didn't see what use something like algebra would have in her life as an adult. But she needed to pass the class so she did the best she could. Right now she was skating by on a high 'D', low 'C' and wanted to at least pull it up to around mid 'C' range. That left her more room to screw up.

"Oh my God, Ashley. The answer is '42'," Spencer said astonished. Ashley burst out laughing hysterically at something that really wasn't that funny but for whatever reason, right then it was. Spencer smiled. She loved hearing the honest, unguarded laughter coming from the other end of the phone. It was almost musical and Spencer loved making Ashley so happy.

"Yay! I got one right!" Ashley exclaimed proudly. Spencer opened her mouth to respond when there was a knock on her door.

"Spencer, it's Dad. Can I come in?" Spencer got up and opened the door, looking questioningly at her father.

"Hi," he said, smiling. "I was hoping we could talk?" Spencer nodded and then gestured to her phone. Arthur's smile grew as he closed the door behind him.

"Ashley, I gotta go, my Dad wants to talk," she explained her to still guffawing girlfriend.

"Awww and here I was hoping to have lewd, tawdry phone sex with you," she teased. Spencer immediately felt herself flush hot and turned away from her father hoping that he didn't notice.

"Ashley," she hissed although the smile on her face carried over clearly to the brunette chuckling on the other end. "Stop."

"All right, babe," Ashley conceded. "Hey, call me if you need me and I'll talk to you later." The phone clicked off, making Spencer shake her head at her girlfriend's avoidance of the word 'bye'. She clicked her phone closed and turned back to her father who was sitting at her desk.

"What's up, Dad?" she asked, sitting down on her bed, her head slightly tilted. She figured that she was in for a lecture about talking back to her mother the way she had been lately.

"Actually, I was hoping that you could tell me what was up, Spencer," Arthur said evenly. He was still slightly grinning at her which calmed the sudden flash of nerves she felt.

"Um, like what?" she swallowed.

"Why don't you start with Ashley?" he suggested, tone still light. Spencer bit her lip and took a deep breath. She knew that eventually she was going to have to tell him and now seemed as good a time as any. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth.

"AshleyandIaredatingandIloveherandnothingyoucansayisgoingtochangethat," she said all in one breath, feeling dizzy and lightheaded as she finished. Then the incredible rolling feeling of nausea joined in. Spencer thought she was going to barf.

"OK, in English, honey?" Arthur asked, suddenly sitting beside his daughter. Spencer jumped in surprise having not noticed him moving. She looked up at him.

"Ashley…I…we…uhm…" she stammered. Arthur laughed.

"Let me try, Spence: Ashley and you are dating, you love her and nothing I say is going to change that. Did I catch all of it?" Spencer nodded dumbly.

"Uh, yeah," she mumbled. "Please don't yell at me." Arthur pulled her into a tight hug.

"Why on earth would I yell at you, sweetheart?" he asked gently. "Being in love isn't something you should be yelled at for." Spencer pulled away and stared at him in shock.

"But it's Ashley…" she started. Arthur nodded.

"Who has been nothing but a terrific friend and seems like an absolutely wonderful person," Arthur added. Spencer's jaw dropped.


"A girl? What's your point, Spencer?" Arthur joked. "I'm not of the same mind as your mother. I'm not bothered by you being gay, honey. I'm concerned because I see the way society treats homosexuals like second or third class citizens and I only want the best for you. But I also know that you need to be who you are. And it's my job as your father to be there for you, accept you and support you." Spencer hugged her father, relief causing hot tears to stream down her face.

"Thank you, Daddy," she sniffled. "I love you." Arthur hugged her back.

"What about, Mom?" she asked hesitantly.

"I think we should wait to tell her," he said honestly. "She's got a lot of things going on with work and everything." Spencer felt a pang of anger at the thought of what the 'everything' that might be 'stressing' her mother out might be.

(Grrr, she's cheating on him and he's making excuses for her. God I'm starting to hate my mother. Should I tell him now?) she wondered. She thought about it for a few moments while she enjoyed the comfort of her father's hug before deciding that now wasn't the best time. She'd let her father cope with the confirmation of her relationship with Ashley for a bit before springing her suspicions on him.

(Besides, I'm not even totally sure she IS cheating. I should wait.)

"Spencer, you can come and talk to me any time you need to, about anything. You know that right?" Spencer nodded against her father's chest.

"Yeah," she said happily. She felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders now that her father knew and was fine with it. She couldn't wait to tell Ashley.

"And tell Ashley that the same goes for her," Arthur added, smiling at his daughter and the relief he could see in her eyes. "My door is always open for either of you."

Part 61

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