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Chapter 30: End of My Rope
PG-13


The sun was all too bright as it slowly pulled Spencer into consciousness. Incessant snoring sounded from an undisclosed location. She sat up with a start when she realized just where she was, which was in bed with Aiden.

Rubbing her eyes, Spencer took a moment to gather her thoughts.

Aiden rolled over and offered her a sheepish smile. “Morning,” he croaked groggily.

“Hey.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Well my head is pounding, and I’m waking up next to you half naked so…not too good.”

Aiden laughed.

“What’s funny?”

“Nothing happened, Spence.”

She sighed in relief as she leaned back against the headboard. The Egyptian cotton sheets running across her legs put her on alert again.

“If nothing happened then where are my pants, Aiden?” she screeched.

“Hey, relax!” He covered his ears saying, “You were hammered last night. You puked on my shirt and your pants. I had to take them off. I tried sleeping on the coach, but it was too small so I came in here early this morning.”

Spencer felt foolish. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m a little high strung these days.”

“And you have right to be. You told me what happened last night.”

“Did I? I don’t remember.”

“Yeah, you were pretty trashed by the time I got here.”

“Was I really bad?”

“No, not really. You were just doing a lot of…venting.” That was the most tactful way to describe the diatribe of expletives that flowed from the blonde’s lips the night before.

She nodded in understanding. “Sorry about the puking.”

“It’s no biggie. For some strange reason I’m always cleaning up girl vomit. Anyway, you up for some breakfast?”

She blonde groaned in disgust.

“I know you don’t feel like it now, but it’ll make you feel a lot better. I promise.”

“Okay. Do you mind giving me a minute to change?”

“Oh right. Of course. I’ll go do the same in the other room.”

“Thanks, Aiden,” she said with a genuine smile. “For everything. I feel like all I do is thank you.”

“Think nothing of it.”

Spencer peeled out of her day old clothes and headed for the shower. The warm water did nothing to wash away thoughts of Ashley.

As she towel dried her hair she felt the cold hand of indifference creeping up her spine. Chances were she’d see Ashley in the dining hall during breakfast. She wasn’t nervous nor did she feel any apprehension. It was pretty clear Ashley thought nothing of seeing her so why should she think anything of seeing Ashley?

Spencer dressed and found Aiden waiting on the coach.

“Ready?”

“Sure.”

Aiden noticed her calm demeanor as they rode the elevator. It was just yesterday morning that she was jittery with nerves at just the thought of potentially seeing Ashley. Now there wasn’t a trace of nervous energy to be found.

“Still hung over?” he probed.

“No. I’m okay, actually. The shower helped.”

He didn’t have a good feeling about this.

At the dining hall Spencer didn’t even stop to survey the crowd. She found a plate and hit the buffet. Aiden could do nothing but follow.

After they retrieved their meal they sat and silently dug in. Aiden could feel the change in the air. He knew what it was like to love someone and not have those feelings returned. He also knew when someone’s head was telling their heart not to care anymore. Your heart never listened, of course, which made proceedings all the more difficult. Aiden loved Spencer and he loved Ashley even more, but he wanted them to resolve this once and for all. He was growing tired of either having to pick sides or play referee.

Like clock work the rocker came dragging into the cafeteria. The red head was leading the way jabbering mindlessly. Spencer never talked so much. After she and Angel grabbed plates, Ashley picked a table that was on a direct path passed Spencer and Aiden.

Aiden was a cordial to the pair as his annoyance would allow, happy when Angel continued to a table alone.

Ashley offered Spencer a sheepish hello that Spencer barley acknowledged. If Ashley could leave Spencer hanging on something so crucial as to who she wanted to be with, then Spencer was not obligated to speak.

Spencer ignored Ashley’s presence as she asked Aiden, “Are you ready to go?”

“I’m not finished,” he whined with his fork still prone.

“Sorry, but suddenly I don’t feel so good.” She stood giving Aiden no choice but to comply.

“Spencer, wait. Can I talk to you?” Ashley begged.

Done waiting for Aiden, Spencer headed for the door. “Now you want to talk?” the blonde asked incredulously. “Save it, Ashley.”

“Why won’t she talk to me?”

“Are you kidding me, Ash? You’ve been all but ignoring her–and me for that matter–for almost two weeks now. You’re doing God knows what with she-devil over there and you’re wondering why she won’t talk to you? Give me a break. And leaving her hanging last night was totally uncool. I expected better from you.” He crossed his arms over his chest looking like a father scolding an insolent child.

“What was I supposed to do, Aid? Madison practically yanked me out of the room. I had a press conference.”

“Last time I checked Madison worked for you, not the other way around. You could have stopped to give her an answer.”

Ashley hung her head. He as right as usual. She hated that.

“I know, okay. Its just…” She struggled to find the words. “I don’t know how to do this relationship stuff. It’s new to me. The closest thing I ever had was with crazy over there and look how that ended up. How do I know Spencer won’t be the same way?”

Aiden softened a bit. He knew she was being honest, hell he had been there for the entire ride.

“You should know by now that Spencer is not Angel,” he said loud enough for the Angel to hear. “You and Spencer have gotten closer than you and Angel ever have. Spencer is sweeter, more caring, and a more genuine person. Let’s not forget she practically dumped her long time girlfriend for you. Does that sound like someone who would be careless with your emotions?”

“Why must you be right all the damn time?”

“It’s what I do.”

Aiden squirmed with obvious indecision for a moment.

“Just ask,” Ashley prodded knowing him way too well.

“What does she want, Ash? Why is she here?”

“That’s a long, sorted tale, but the short answers are me and the baby died.”

“I am sorry to hear that. But what do you want?”

“I don’t know. I feel obligated to Angel. But it’s just not the same, you know?”

He nodded, replying, “Well you need to make some decisions and some changes, and I mean soon, or you’re going to lose the cute little blonde chick currently pacing past the door like a weirdo.”

Ashley turned to see Spencer doing just that.

“I get the feeling that once her minds made up there’s no coming back and even my insightful interventions won’t help anymore.”

“Ash, come on, I want to eat,” Angel whined.

Ashley rolled her eyes. “I’ll think of something soon. Just please keep her satisfied until I figure out what to do.”

Aiden looked hesitant.

“I’m begging.”

“Fine. I’ll try, but no promises.”

Ashley stood on her tippy toes to give him a kiss on the cheek. “You’re the best. Remind me to buy you something expensive when this is all over.”

“Don’t worry about it…just um…remember this when you get your Amax bill.”

Any other day there would be real risk that she’d end up on social media throttling a basketball coach. He picked the perfect time to be honest. “Whatever. Later.”

Aiden found Spencer in the lobby.

“All tuckered out?”

Spencer smiled before asking, “Why do I still care?”

“You care because she means something to you. That doesn’t go away overnight.”

“I have some of the worst luck on the planet. No sooner than Ash and I hook up, here comes her ex. I mean what are the chances?”

Aiden had just given Ashley an earful maybe it was Spencer’s turn.

“You ever stop to think that maybe some of this is your fault?”

Spencer stared at him in shock. “My fault?”

“Yes. Angel shows up and you just roll over. You let her take what’s rightfully yours. And she knows it, that’s why she continues to dominate Ash’s time. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you need to fight for Ashley? That maybe she needs you to fight for her. She needs you to prove to her that you’re the one she should be with. No one, besides me, has ever cared about what she needs. For a while, Spence, I thought that was you. I guess I was wrong.”

For the first time in a long time Aiden turned his back on Spencer, leaving her all alone. She stared at his retreating form.

Who the hell does he think he is, yelling at me like that? Telling me to fight. Fight what, years of history? That’s impossible! Angel is Ashley’s first love. I can’t compete with that after knowing her for a few months. How ‘bout Ashley fight for me? Prove to me that I’m who she truly wants. People who want people don’t stay away for weeks at a time with their ex. They don’t ignore you, and they sure as hell don’t pretend you don’t exist. Aiden doesn’t know what he’s talking about…Even though he has known Ashley for a long time. What was that about no one caring about what she needs? Is he saying fight for her because I’m who she needs? Fight for Ashley…fight for Ashley. Every time I see her with Angel something seems…off. What does Angel want? Fight for Ashley…FIGHT FOR ASHLEY!

Spencer stood to her feet with determination in her eyes. She quickly walked back into the dining hall scanning the crowd for the rocker and the red head. She was ready to kick “Operation fight for Ashley” into gear. After making several sweeps of the dining hall she found…

they were gone.


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