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Chapter 32: What I do best
Ashley sat in the make-up chair unmoving as Spencer applied finishing touches. She was regularly tortured by the smell of Spencer’s perfume, the feel of her fingertips on her neck as Spencer leaned in close.
“All right, you’re free,” Spencer said flatly. She stepped back to survey her work before turning away.
Polite and cold, it’d been this way for three weeks.
Ashley came bursting into the dressing room, the crew looking at her curiously.
“Everyone out!” she shouted.
“Ash, you’re late and we have—”
“Save it, Madison. I have something to do. I’ll be there when I’m ready. Now get out.”
“Fine, its your law suit,” Madison groused as she filed out into the hall with everyone else.
“You stay,” Ashley said to Spencer as she too tried to leave.
“You said everyone out,” Spencer returned.
“I didn’t mean you.”
Spencer crossed her arms over her chest. “What do you want, Ashley? We don’t have time for this.”
“I’ve been looking for you all day.” Ashley’s resolve began to wan under Spencer’s icy blue stare.
“Just today, huh?”
Ashley flinched. “Look, Spence—”
“Spencer,” she interrupted. “It’s Spencer to you now.”
“Spencer. I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry—” Ashley stopped when the blonde began to laugh. “What’s so funny?”
“What part of my apology do you find amusing?”
Spencer rose to her full height. “You think you can walk in here after a week of ignoring me and say you’re sorry?”
“What else is there to say? I kicked Angel out today. Does that help?”
“Help? Ashley what are you talking about? I don’t need you to help me. I needed you.”
Needed. Past tense.
“She totally manipulated me.”
“You’re right, Ashley, she did. And you were dumb enough to fall for it. But despite what she did, this is about you not her. You’re the one who made the decision to push me away, shut me out.”
“I needed to deal with her and all her…crap. I didn’t want you to be subjected to that.”
“You did it all to protect me?”
“Bullshit, Ashley! This had nothing to do with me. I know it wouldn’t have been easy, but if you would have just talked to me, included me, it could have been a hell of a lot easier. Don’t you see that? I’m not some lap dog. And I most certainly will not wait for you to pick me. I deserve better than that.”
“I know that! I’m not stupid, Spencer.”
Spencer gave her a cross look.
“Okay, I am kind of dumb sometimes. But the fact of the matter is I’ve never done this before. Besides Angel I’ve never even been in a relationship. I never wanted to until you. I never knew what…” Ashley hesitated still not able to say the words.
“What?” Spencer pressed.
“I’ve never known what to do in these situations,” Ashley finished.
Spencer nodded feeling the sting of things left unsaid. “Well now you’ll know in the future.”
The blonde took a deep breath. “Sit down so that I can make you up.”
Since then Ashley did her concerts, and her press conferences, and her photo shoots, and everything else a celebrity does.
Spencer hung out with Aiden, and talked on the phone, and met petite brunettes that had a tendency to not hold her attention through an entire conversation.
The tour was nearing its end, giving Ashley a few months of freedom before it was time for her to get back on the road. She sat in the small conference room provided by the hotel with Madison and a speakerphone. The label had some things to clarify before the tour wrapped up. She was trying her hardest to pay attention to the kudos and congratulations for breaking yet another ticket sale record. The call finished and Ashley sat waiting for Madison to release her.
Madison scribbled some notes, happy about the idea of going home. National tours were brutal and the impending world tour would be worse. The Latina knew the pressure Ashley faced was twice as heavy. Another thing Madison knew about Ashley was that she handled personal stress relatively well. Ashley never wavered in her business responsibilities or made her unhappiness apparent to the fans after Angel left.
She was, however, doing all of those things now.
Madison placed her pen down with a snap. “So how long are we going to have to put up with this?”
That at least got Ashley’s attention.
“Your attitude is worse than usual,” she clarified.
“I’m not in the mood today, Mads.”
“I’m not trying to start anything. I’m asking if you’re okay.”
Ashley didn’t know how to respond to that. All hope was lost if Madison was showing concern.
Madison rolled her eyes. “Look, your shitty attitude affects us all, so if there’s something I can do to get the bug out your ass then I’m going to do it. It’s only to make my job easier. Don’t flatter yourself.”
“You’ve really got it bad for her don’t you?”
Was it that obvious?
“You don’t have to be afraid to talk to me about it. I know we’ve had our differences and you basically stole my girlfriend, but she and I were over long before you came along. It’s taken me a while, but I can see that now.”
Ashley was still at a loss.
“If it helps, she’s just as miserable as you are.”
“She told you that?”
“Not in so many words, but I know what unhappy Spencer looks like. I know what happy Spencer looks like too. And she was far happier with you then she was with me.”
“I don’t know how to fix it. I tried to talk to her and make her understand that I made a mistake, but she won’t hear it.”
“Maybe it’s not your mistakes she wants to hear about, but rather how you feel about her. We all know you’re not the most emotionally available person. Spencer, on the other hand, is very open. The tour is ending, and since we broke up chances are she’ll move in with her parents in Ohio. She may not come back. So if you can’t talk to her about what’s in your own heart then what does anything else matter?”
Ashley needed to at least prove to Spencer that she cared for her, wanted her. Even if she didn’t do some grand gesture of love, she owed it to Spencer to tell her how she felt.
“Why are you helping me?” Ashley was wary of Madison’s intentions.
“I told you, your attitude sucks and it’s making it difficult for all of us to do our jobs, me especially. Don’t get it twisted, though, I don’t care about you.”
“Dually noted. So now what do I do?”
“You know for a woman you’re really bad at this.”
“I know!” Ashley threw her head back.
“Ashley, just…do what you do best.”
Ashley’s brow furrowed in consternation. What did she do best? She wished it were as easy as sleeping with Spencer. Ashley knew she was good at that.
Then like a bolt of lightening an idea struck.
“Madison, where’s the next tour stop?”
“Back to where it all began, New York.”
“I need you to book me a studio and an appointment on air at Z100.”
“I’m on it.”
Ashley bolted toward the door.
“Wait! What are you going to do? I’ve got to know!”
“You know for a woman you’re really bad at this.” Ashley smiled. “I’m going to do what
I do best,” she revealed before disappearing around the corner.
Madison frowned. “I don’t know what that means in a literal sense.”
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