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Rating: PG-13
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Chapter 12

“Oh, hey, Spencer. What’s up?” Julia smiled as she regarded Spencer smugly.

Spencer felt an eerie chill go up her spine as she was inspected by her fellow blonde.

“Um, nothing. I was just looking for Ashley.”

Julia held the door open wider revealing Ashley sitting on the edge of the bed looking guilty.

“Hey, Spence.”

“I didn’t realize you had company.” Spencer backed away from the door. “Sorry. I’ll go—”

“No wait. Don’t go.”

Ashley looked at Julia with apologetic eyes.

“It’s cool. I was kind of busy anyway. Later guys.”

With a chuckle Julia exited closing the door behind her.

Spencer turned to Ashley. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“No clue,” she shrugged.

They stood in silence for long awkward moments before Spencer worked up the nerve to state her plea.

“Look, I didn’t mean to barge in here like this…”

“No its fine. She needed to go anyway.”

Ashley motioned for Spencer to have a seat on the bed.

“Shit! I am so screwed,” Spencer groaned.

“What’s wrong?”

“Julia, Michael’s suitemate, just caught me coming to your room.” She looked over at the clock. “After midnight. She’s so going to tell her.” The realization hit Spencer like a ton of bricks.

“So?” I hope she does.

“So? Michael hates you. And she’s already suspicious of all the time we spend together. I’ll never hear the end of this.”

Ashley sat down next to Spencer putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. She wanted Michael to think something was happening between them but not at Spencer’s expense. This bet was between she and Michael; Spencer wasn’t supposed to be involved. Well, she was involved but indirectly.  Ashley knew though that Michael could be a real hard-core bitch sometimes and she didn’t want Spencer to receive the brunt of Mike’s wrath.

“Hey, it’s okay. You can tell her you were helping me with homework. No big deal. My stupidity is no secret.”

Spencer laughed. “You’re not stupid Ash.”

“Try telling that to everyone else.”

“Well they don’t know you so they can go screw themselves.”

The words flew out of Spencer’s mouth so easily she didn’t have time to stop them. It was indeed how she felt, but she didn’t need for Ashley to know that.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. You’re very intelligent Ash, and…”

They both latently realized Ashley’s hand that was once on her shoulder was now on her thigh. The heat from it scorched the skin underneath. Spencer looked down at Ashley’s hand then back into brown orbs.

Ashley slid a bit closer speaking in barely a whisper.

“And what?”

Spencer’s mouth went dry and her vision became fuzzy at the proximity of Ashley’s body to her own.

“And funny, and…”

“And?”

Again Ashley slid that much closer so their faces were only inches apart.

“Pretty.”

Ashley slowly leaned in seizing both on the opportunity and her genuine desire. They were startled apart, however, by Spencer’s cell phone ringing.

She flipped open her phone turning away from Ashley.

“Hey, Mike. Yes…Yes, stop yelling. I had to help her. With what? Um, ah,…”

Ashley shot off the bed grabbing a textbook and pointing to the title for Spencer to read.

“…Her philosophy project. You know Plato, Locke those guys…Yeah I guess. Sure…Okay. Ten minutes. Bye.”

“She’s pretty pissed huh?”

Spencer sighed. “You don’t even want to know.”

“I’m sorry Spence. I didn’t mean—”

“It’s not your fault,” Spencer interrupted.  “Its mine. I shouldn’t have come here this late.”

“Why did you come here?”

“Oh um, it was about earlier. At the pool,” she began to nervously. “Well you seemed upset when you left. I wanted to make sure I didn’t say something to upset you.”

Ashley nodded her head in understanding. “No, you didn’t say anything wrong. Its just I have a lot on my mind right now. It causes me to get a bit sporadic at times.”

“Is that why you’re sleeping with Julia?”

Ashley was shocked at the bluntness of the question. She wasn’t sure she was ready to broach that topic yet but the open and trusting look on Spencer’s face made her feel comfortable to open up.

“We’re not sleeping together, we have, I was going to…I don’t know! Its just there’s so much going on; I kind of needed her to take my mind off things for a little while if you catch my drift.”

Spencer nodded in understanding. “I get it. You know sex isn’t the healthiest of ways to escape your problems.”

“You’re right, but it is the most fun. Besides it’s not like I have many friends to talk to.”

“What am I, dog meat?”

Ashley smiled. “Of course not.”

“We’re friends now Ash. If there’s something on your mind you can talk about it with me.”

“That sounds nice. But in this case it may not be so easy.”

“Why not?”

Ashley took a deep breath preparing herself to tell Spencer the truth. They were friends and lying to her was not particularly what she wanted to do.

“Look Spencer there’s something I should tell you—”

Spencer’s phone rang again.

“I’m sorry, that’s Mike again. I have to go, but I do want to finish this conversation.”

“Me too. How about we hang out say Thursday night? Get to know each other better.”

“Well it depends on if I can get away from Michael; if I can then definitely. I’ll call you Thursday afternoon when I know for sure.”

“Okay, cool. See you later buddy.”

“Bye pal.”

They shared a laugh as Spencer left. She wore a big goofy grin all the way to her building. That was until she saw Michael seething in front of her door.

Michael ranted and raved about Spencer and Ashley’s friendship for hours. Spencer assured her that they were only friends and nothing more.

“Mike, she needed some help and we’re on the same relay team. I’m partially responsible if she can’t suit up. Beyond that, here’s nothing going on between me and Ash.”

“Ash? When did she become Ash? And don’t think I haven’t noticed her calling you Spence. You two are real chummy now huh?”

“Michael we’re on the relay team together. We have practice twice a week, not to mention our other practices. We’re bound to become friendly.”

“Oh really? So if the relay team is made up of three then why is it usually only you and Ash at these other practices.”

Michael made air quotes around Ash. Spencer froze as she looked into the face of her angry girlfriend. She was caught. She and Ashley hadn’t done anything wrong, but she still felt horrible. Spencer lied to Michael calling the alone she and Ashley shared practice when it was really something more.

“Mike, I’m sorry. Ashley and I have just gotten really close because of relay and the interviews and everything. I swear nothings going on between us.”

Michael softened a looking into pleading azure eyes. She could never stay mad at Spencer. Bet or no bet she was a cutie pie.

“Fine. I believe you. I guess Julia just got me a bit worried.”

Spencer scoffed. “She has no right to talk.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing, I shouldn’t…”

“No really, what is it?” Michael insisted.

“It’s just she’s worried about me sleeping with Ashley when she’s the one sleeping with her.”

“WHAT?”

Spencer nodded triumphantly. “Yeah that’s what they were doing when I interrupted them. Ashley said they have sex from time to time when the mood strikes them.”

“That’s bullshit!”

Michael knew Julia had been acting as a mole for her in terms of the bet. She would send Julia to fish for information on how far Ashley had gotten with Spencer. She had no idea Julia herself was sleeping with Ashley. A disgusted feeling ran through Michael’s entire body at the realization. Ashley had done it again.

“That’s what I said. I told Ashley that’s no way to deal with her problems. Don’t you agree?”

Spencer got no answer as Michael stared off into space.

“Michael?”

Michael snapped out of her reverie. “Huh? Oh yeah right.”

“I don’t get it. Why are you so upset that Ashley is sleeping with Julia?”

Michael thought quickly about a reasonable excuse besides the fact that she too was sleeping with Julia.

“Well she’s my friend. I don’t want her getting mixed up with Davies anymore than I want to see you mixed up with her.”

“Oh. You know Ashley isn’t all that bad once you get to know her.”

“I do know her and she’s worse that you know.”

Spencer shook her head stepping closer to Michael. She felt horrible about all of this and she needed to do something to reassure Michael and herself she wasn’t interested in Ashley.

“You’ve been really stressed out lately. What do you say we relieve some of this tension?”

“Why Carlin, what did you have in mind?”

Spencer pushed Michael down on her back straddling her hips. “Wait and see.”

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