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A Romantic Study

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The day started normal enough. As normal as anything can be in Rosewood, that is. They went to school, attended classes, ate some form of mystery casserole at lunch, then headed over to Spencer's for a study session. No murder theories, no texts and taunts from A, just an unusually normal day. Of course, within a half hour, Aria was gone after being beckoned by Mr. Fitz, Emily still couldn't manage to think of him as Ezra, and Hanna soon followed saying she needed to meet with Caleb.

This left Emily alone with Spencer which was precisely when her unusually normal day promptly ended.

"I've been having lesbian fantasies," remarked Spencer with casual aplomb. She was lying on her back, stretched out on her bed, looking self-satisfied and almost feline. Her expression was utterly serious as she stared at Emily who could do nothing more than blink in response. Seeing this, Spencer continued, "Don't you think it's funny I could tell you something like that but Paige wouldn't even hold your hand in public?"

"We're not exactly in public either, Spencer," said Emily, finally finding her voice. Frowning at the dig at Paige, she asked, "What is this about, anyway? Besides your lesbian fantasies, I mean."

"Everything should be about my lesbian fantasies, don't you think?" drawled Spencer with a half smirk which Emily didn't return. In fact, she was rather irritated with herself for finding it charming. Instead of responding, Emily folded her arms over her chest and did her best stern impression. Spencer sighed. "I find the idea of you being with Paige repugnant."

"Gee, thanks," said Emily, her tone of voice was sub-arctic. She didn't have any clue where this conversation was going but she couldn't help feeling hurt about Spencer's remark. Though she tried not to show it as she replied, "I'm guessing we're not a part of your lesbian fantasies then."

"Paige certainly isn't," Spencer scoffed, she was now hanging halfway off her bed, her head upside down as she peered up at Emily who absently wondered if blood was rushing to her head.

"You do remember I'm not with Paige anymore?" said Emily, nudging Spencer hard with her knee and feeling satisfied when she yelped and moved back up the bed. "She wouldn't come out of the closet and I won't go back in so that's that."

"I'm aware that your romance reached an impasse but it doesn't stop you from looking at her with a mopey expression whenever she's doing a shoddy job of pretending to be straight and interested in Sean Ackard," said Spencer pointedly.

Rolling her eyes upon hearing the word impasse, wondering what teenager other than Spencer Hastings would ever use it in regular conversation, Emily muttered, "I just don't like seeing her pretend like that. It hurts somehow."

She felt the bed shift before Spencer touched her hand, the gesture was warm and comforting as she entwined their fingers. "She's not your responsibility," said Spencer softly. "You should forget about her."

"I should do a lot of things," said Emily sardonically. Her gaze drifted over to Spencer who was still lying on her back, her brown eyes lidded and affectionate, a small half-smile tugging at her lips. In moments like these, Spencer reminded Emily of Alison but in a good way. Their personalities were similiar, the same confidence and strength, a sort of unshakable purpose in how they lived that was startling when you considered their age. What was the word Paige had used? Dynamic. They were both very dynamic people but Spencer wasn't Alison and Emily was glad for that. "I never should've fallen for Ali."

"The same could be said for me," replied Spencer and when Emily's eyes widened, Spencer had a playful light in her gaze, solemn as it otherwise was. "I think we were all a little bit in love with her, Em. How else could she manipulate us so well?"

"Right," Emily released a huff of air, looking off to one side.

The bed shifted again and somehow she knew Spencer was sitting up but she refused to look at the other girl. She was too irritated. Her friends might have loved Alison and looked up to her but it wasn't the same. Before Alison she only had a vague inkling she was different but her feelings for her had been so strong and Alison, she had known, just like she seemed to know everything and...

Her feelings were different from Spencer's. She knew that absolutely.

Emily was removed from these entirely cynical thoughts by Spencer resting her chin on her shoulder. Arms wrapped lightly around her waist and Spencer's voice was in her ear. "Once," she said slowly, "my parents were out of town on one of their frequent reward Melissa for being perfect sabbaticals and I was alone. Alison came for a visit and inevitably, she suggested alcohol. To this day I don't know if I kissed her or she kissed me but there was kissing. Of course, the next morning denial took hold. In retrospect, I'm surprised Ali kept quiet about it. She could've used that for yet more emotional blackmail."

"Seriously?" asked Emily and as she turned around her eyes went wide with an honest disbelief.

"The seriousest," said Spencer with a tiny smirk, though she had a subdued look of worry.

"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Emily continued, now facing Spencer and sitting cross legged on the bed. "I mean, you knew about my letter and how I felt..."

"That's why I didn't say anything," said Spencer quietly. "I wasn't lying when I said that I think all of us were a little in love with Alison but I will thoroughly concede our feelings never compared to yours in that capacity. Even my own."

"But--" Emily began and she wasn't particularly sure what she was going to say, but she was going to say something important. Maybe even philosophical. Only she didn't get the chance because Spencer was scooting closer and putting her index finger on Emily's mouth to hush her as Emily did her best not to notice how soft Spencer's skin felt against her lips.

"You were genuinely in love with her," Spencer interrupted, her voice holding a gentle understanding, her finger falling away from Emily's lips. "I might've loved Ali and held a strange type of contempt and worship for her but I never would have wanted to date her. You did, didn't you?"

"Yeah," whispered Emily, ducking her head and somehow feeling embarrassed to admit that. It probably had to do with the more things they found out about Alison and her life, the more Emily realized how very little she had actually known her. At times Emily wondered who she was in love with back then. Alison or the idea of Alison. She still wasn't sure. Silence reigned and Spencer studied Emily with that analytical look she always got when she was trying to solve her mystery of the moment. Emily couldn't help but squirm under her gaze. "What?" she demanded.

"I knew," said Spencer soft enough that Emily had to strain to hear her, moving closer to her friend as she spoke. There was a hesitation in Spencer's tone that didn't suit her at all. "I knew how you felt about Ali and I hated how she treated you... I said something to her but," Spencer paused to form a self-deprecating smirk, irony lacing her words, "it didn't go so well."

"You said something?" echoed Emily and she didn't know why she was surprised. Spencer always had a protective streak a mile wide when it came to her friends. Though sometimes it seemed to Emily she got special treatment in that area, far more than Aria and Hanna. "Spence," she murmured, reaching for Spencer's hands and smiling. "Thanks."

"Hey," Spencer drew the word out humorously, pushing a lock of hair from Emily's eyes. "I live to serve."

Laughing at this, it dawned on Emily how much of this conversation, namely all of it, had been about her. "What about you?" asked Emily eagerly, a bright smile on her features. "How are things going with Toby?"

"Toby," Spencer sighed his name more than said it and Emily frowned in response. "Has an unfortunate lot in life. He's way too good at helping people understand themselves which usually winds up with him getting the short stick."

"Spence?" asked Emily, utterly confused.

"Let's just say my lesbian fantasies don't include Paige or Toby and leave it at that," said Spencer wryly.

"What? No way! We're not leaving anything," said Emily emphatically, her frown returning as she held Spencer's hands. "We just spent how long going over my sad love life and now you're passing the buck? Not happening."

Another sigh and Spencer looked like she was going to reply but then her face screwed up in a familiar look of utter determination. She moved forward in one smooth and elegant motion, cupping Emily's face with her hands and meeting their lips in a kiss that would've been sweet and simple except Emily opened her mouth in surprise and Spencer seized the opportunity to deepen the kiss. It wasn't like the innocent touch of the lips she had with Alison and it lacked the confusion then passion of her kisses with Maya and it was nothing like the hesitant reassurance she offered Paige. Kissing Spencer was an antithesis of emotions. Comfortable and exciting, safe and thrilling, and Emily found herself tangling her fingers in Spencer's hair, undoing her loose braid and pulling her closer.

She felt Spencer smile against her lips as Emily returned the kiss whole heartedly and her hands were warm on Emily's skin, pressing against the curve of her hip where her jeans began, urging her backwards. They were lying down on Spencer's bed and their kisses had become almost frantic, one leading into the other, and Emily didn't know where this was coming from. It wasn't like she never noticed that Spencer was attractive, it was pretty impossible not to notice that, but she never allowed herself to think about her friends in that way after Alison. Because of that, she never let herself conceive of something like this happening but if she had Emily would've imagined this. Even still, she couldn't have known it would be this good. How Spencer's lips were wonderfully soft and pliable and ardent against her own, kissing Emily like she could never get enough, drinking from her deeply and releasing a happy murmur when Emily reciprocated fully.

When they finally part for air, they're breathing heavily and Spencer looks almost ravished, her normally immaculate hair disheveled and going every which way. Emily smiles fondly at this, giving into her urge to straighten it and saying in between breathes, "Where did you learn to kiss like that?"

"I like to study, remember?" replied Spencer with a chuckle.

Forming an 'oh' on her lips, Emily nodded her head and her fingertips trailed down Spencer's cheek. Spencer was lying half on top of her with her left leg pressed in between Emily's thighs. It was a position that left a pleasantly warm sensation in her stomach and trying to ignore her nerves, Emily asked, "I guess I was a part of your lesbian fantasies then?"

Looking away from Emily for a long moment, the skin around her neck and face turning red, Spencer faced Emily and said her name quietly. She moved closer, hiding in the crook of Emily's neck, her breath tickling Emily's skin. "Being with you is my lesbian fantasy."

Emily didn't know what to say to that so she didn't say anything all. She entwined her fingers in Spencer's hair and gently pulled her head upwards and when Spencer looked into her eyes, her gaze reflecting anxiety and vulnerability, Emily kissed her hard. Spencer soon returned her gesture enthusiastically, groaning and opening her mouth, inviting Emily in and Emily quickly took advantage. It was strange, all of this coming so easily and so naturally to her, it never happened that way with Emily. There was always some obstacle to overcome whether it was manipulation or confusion or denial but there was always something and for the life of her Emily couldn't see any of those things with Spencer. Though she honestly had no idea where any of this had come from and as good as all this was it made Emily more than a bit worried. Enough that she pulled away from Spencer, panting and trying to ignore the way Spencer's lips were plumper than before, almost bruised from the force of their kisses.

"We should stop," said Emily reluctant and sad, trying to make sure it didn't sound like a rejection. She didn't want to stop but she really thought they should. At least, she thought she should. Emily needed time to figure out what all this meant. "For now."

"I understand," Spencer's voice was deeper than usual, reflecting her desire, and there wasn't any hurt or resentment in her gaze. Just the same unspoken connection they always shared and Emily gave a relieved smile.

Of course, their current position did little to calm her hormones. Spencer lying on top of her and her hand resting on the flat skin of Emily's abdomen, making Emily all too aware of how close they were. That when she took a breath her chest rose up and moved against Spencer's and she could smell the faint scent of Spencer's perfume. Something expensive and French.

"We should move," offered Emily after a moment.

"We should," agreed Spencer but she made no effort to do this.

More moments passed and neither moved away from the other and Emily shook her head, laughing as she shoved Spencer lightly on the shoulder. "Spence!" she exclaimed. "Come on. We won't be able to... you know, if we're this close."

"I know?" said Spencer suggestively, raising an eyebrow.

"Being this close to you isn't helping me calm down," said Emily peevishly. "Just the opposite, in fact."

"What if I don't want you to calm down?" asked Spencer in altogether logical manner that made Emily groan and roll her eyes. Spencer clucked her tongue and folded her arms on Emily's chest, resting her chin on top of them and looking at Emily teasingly. "Just picture Jenna walking towards you, in a slinky negligee, saying you're her new Toby."

A horrified expression emerged on Emily's features and she released a shriek of protest before closing her eyes out of instinct. As if doing this would erase the image from her brain. Spencer laughed uproariously at this and Emily, her eyes still shut, shoved Spencer again, proclaiming that she hated her. The laughter died down and Emily felt Spencer shifting on top of her and the whisper soft feel of Spencer's breath on her skin as she murmured, "No you don't."

Then Spencer gave her a kiss that was shy and tender and loving and when it ended Spencer was off her bed and straightening her outfit. Looking over her shoulder at a dumbfounded Emily and asking what she wanted to have for dinner.

The next day at school Emily found herself half believing it was some sort of dream or maybe even a lesbian fantasy, like Spencer had spoken of, but then she'd touch her lips and she just knew it wasn't. She didn't try to call or text Spencer when she got home other than to say she arrived safely, something they all had a habit of doing with A lurking about, and now the lack of communication was leading to a definite case of nerves. Did it really happen? Did Spencer really like her in that way? Did she really like Spencer? They never confirmed any of these things and in the light of day all these questions were overwhelming. Especially since she currently lacked the reassurance of Spencer's smile and touch.

Of course, it was in the midst of her bout of insecurity when Paige rounded the corner, hanging onto Sean's arm and smiling at him like some sort of fawning sycophant. Snorting at this thought, Emily felt herself start to tear up slightly because it was just the sort of brainiac SAT word that Spencer would use in casual conversation.

And then, like magic, Spencer appeared. Sauntering down the hallway wearing a Sherlock Holmes styled hat and a tiny tweed jacket that looked absurdly appropriate on her. Emily often wondered why Spencer felt compelled to dress in outfits that were more like movie costumes than normal clothes but she couldn't deny they looked good on her. As Spencer approached, she distantly noted that the pipe was missing. Then again, it could always be in her pocket.

Spencer came to a stop at Emily's locker and leaned against it, her eyes narrowing. "You're mopey like one of the Seven Dwarves again," she stated plainly. Looking over Emily's shoulder, Spencer continued, "Where's Paige?"

"She left with Sean," said Emily with a sigh, almost irritated that Spencer knew her this well.

Releasing a thoughtful murmur on hearing this, Spencer nodded her head and folded her arms over her chest, eyeing Emily up and down. "Mopey isn't a good look for you, Em," she remarked. Emily rolled her eyes and was about to reply with a snarky comment but Spencer stepped forward and kissed her and it was just like the last time. It was shy and tender and loving and it was as if with this kiss, Spencer was trying to let Emily know exactly how she felt. How this just wasn't about sex and attraction, it was about friendship and love, and it was the first time Emily ever had all of those things with a girl. Spencer pulled away, gazing at Emily for a long moment before forming a satisfied smile. "There," she murmured, tucking a lock of hair behind Emily's ear, her hand lingering on her cheek. "Much better."

In an instant, the earlier confusion and doubt left her. Emily knew what she wanted and maybe it was new and maybe it was a bit frightening, doing this with one of her closest friends after everything with Alison, but she couldn't deny wanting Spencer and she couldn't ignore that wanting her was probably the easiest thing she had ever done. Moving forward in a flash, Emily laced her hands into Spencer's hair, knocking her Sherlock Holmes hat askew, and kissing her passionately. Spencer gasped in surprise and Emily almost chuckled but the urge quickly left her as Spencer kissed her back. She wasn't sure how long they kissed just that they were interrupted by a loud and very amused cough and Aria saying casually, "This is new."

"Very," Hanna chimed in and Emily could feel herself blushing as she parted from Spencer. "The question is: how new?"

Choosing the method of easy retreat, Emily mimicked Spencer from the night before, and hid her face in Spencer's neck, not entirely up for facing a round of teasing, even as good natured as she knew it would be. "Yesterday new," Spencer dryly responded. "And this ends now. I don't think Emily is ready to deal with the Spanish Inquisition about our love life yet."

Blushing again when Spencer spoke of their love life, Emily lifted her head and looked at Hanna and Aria who wore matching expressions of fond amusement. "Hello," said Hanna, a mischievous smile forming on her lips.

"Hey," Emily replied, still blushing, but returning her friend's smile on instinct.

"Since when do we employ torture?" asked Aria, now fixated on Spencer's Spanish Inquisition joke.

"You need to be nerdier and watch Monty Python," Spencer drawled.

Aria huffed at this and turned her focus to Emily but before she could say anything the familiar tap of Jenna and her cane sounded in the air and all conversation stopped. Except the usual air of dread and intimidation that surrounded her vanished the second that Emily shrieked and hid her face in Spencer's chest.

"I'll explain later," she heard Spencer say. "She's been unwittingly traumatized. It's mostly my fault."

Their friends were completely confused and altogether curious and Jenna was probably insulted but Emily couldn't find it in herself to care. Even when she looked up and saw Paige gazing at her with a pained expression. She felt Spencer's arms wrap around her in a loose embrace and it just felt so very right and for Emily that was all that mattered. That and being the focus for Spencer's lesbian fantasies.