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Don't let me drown

Chapter Text

 

 

I

Sometimes
When you and I collide
I fall into an ocean of you
Pull me out in time



It was four o’clock on a Friday afternoon at the Rear Window Brew, and the line for coffee stretched out the door. But Emily Fields knew how to be patient. The optimism in her not fading a notch, she glanced at her watch and braced herself for the wait ahead. There was nothing to worry about. She had time.

“These goddamn high schoolers.” Apparently, the person who joined the line behind her didn’t feel the same way.

Emily turned around to face the muttering woman. “You okay?” she asked.

“I’m fine.” The woman was thin with long, wavy brown hair, olive skin and a furrowed brow - which she would be more attractive without. “Sorry. I just haven’t had coffee all day. Can’t believe how hard it is to find a brew that doesn’t taste like sludge around here.”

“As you can tell,” Emily gestured at the slowly moving line in front of her, “the Brew is the place to be.”

The woman folded her arms. “I don’t remember people needing coffee at this age.”

“Probably because you thought you were the only seventeen-year-old who drank coffee after a long day of Honors Chemistry,” Emily said. She thought that the brunette seemed the type, but immediately felt silly for making assumptions.

The woman huffed.

Clearly Emily hit a nerve. This came as a reassurance. “Was I right?” she teased, carefully watching the other woman’s expression. It soured even further. “Tell you what,” she said. “You tell me what you want to drink and I’ll put our orders together, to make it more efficient for the baristas.” On a whim, she added, “It’ll be my treat.”

“How can I hold you to that?” the woman asked.

“I know not to trick women. My mother raised me right,” Emily responded. She held her hand out. “I’m Emily, by the way.”

Eyebrow raised, the woman surveyed her hand before shaking it tentatively. “Spencer,” she said. “My name’s Spencer.”


 

 


They settled in a secluded nook unoccupied behind some curtains after receiving their coffees. Spencer did everything but guzzle her triple shot long black, to which she added three packets of cream and two teaspoons of sugar, while Emily sipped her Americano - what a pedestrian choice! - and watched her amusedly.

It had been an hour since they first sat there yet their conversation seemed endless. Spencer found out that they were the same age, thirty-four years old. She also found out that Emily was a contractor who owned a renovation business with a friend in New York. She was in Rosewood for business, to meet a potential client. In turn, Spencer told Emily about her undergrad education at UPenn, and her plans to go to law school, but instead was pulled to another direction.

“I’m a writer,” Spencer told her. Although she was accustomed to saying it by now, it felt phony when she told Emily. Perhaps it was because she knew that Emily’s career produced concrete results, while most of what Spencer does never even makes it to the public eye. When the other woman gave her a questioning look, she supplemented with, “I live in Los Angeles.”

“Oh, cool!” Emily said. “What do you write for…?”

“Television.” She looked down at her hands. “The pilot of a show I’ve been working on is actually going to air on CBS in June. I’m the head writer for it.”

“That’s great! What’s it about?”

“Well.” Spencer was really not used to anyone showing interest in her work, at all. Hollywood had given her thick skin. “It’s called Ocean of You, and it’s mostly a romance-drama type show centered around a relationship between two young professionals in San Francisco. It’s much less melodramatic than a soap, but far less formulaic than a standard TV drama.”

Ocean of You? Got something to do with the Bay Area?” Emily asked.

“The location is something I thought of with the producers when I was revising the pilot script, but the title is a lyric from a song called ‘Sway’ by Bic Runga. She’s a singer from New Zealand,” Spencer explained. “It played on the radio one day and I found it so catchy, I had to listen to it again…”

“Then you got inspired.”

“Then I got inspired.”

Emily leaned back in her seat. “You don’t strike me as the sappy type.”

“It’s not sappy!” Spencer retorted. She intended it to be a different kind of love story. Besides, she could get away with being sappy because Ocean of You was unique. She told the black-haired woman sitting across from her just that.

“How is it different?”

“It’s a queer love story.” Anxious for Emily’s reaction, the words rushed out of Spencer’s mouth.

“What?”

Spencer sighed. “The two protagonists are women,” she said. “They fall in love.”

“Why ‘queer’?” Emily frowned. “Why not ‘lesbian’, or even ‘gay’?”

“Because,” Spencer sat up, ramrod straight with righteousness, “queer is better at encompassing non-heterosexual identities. Not every woman who falls in love with a woman is a lesbian. For all you know, they could be bi.”

“All right, all right.” The taller woman’s hands were raised in defeat. “No need to get all grouchy at me. I’m sold now. I’ll watch your show.”

“What do you mean that you’re sold now?” Spencer asked.

“It’s okay that they’re sappy because they’re both ladies,” Emily said. “So I’ll watch it.”

And was Spencer supposed to be grateful? “Now you’re just typecasting.”

“No, I’m speaking from personal experience,” Emily said. “That’s why I avoid getting attracted to sappy women. But they’re a dime a dozen. So let’s just say that I’m a little bit picky.” There was an odd undertone to her voice. As if underneath the confidence, she only half-believed what she was saying.

“I’m not sure sappy women would think you were worth their time after they got to talk to you anyway.” Spencer’s eyes wandered over the other woman. Emily was gorgeous, with shiny black hair tumbling down her broad shoulders, high cheekbones and full lips. Her muscled arms and legs were evident even under the long-sleeved tee and jeans that she was wearing. But her eyes were special. There was a hardness to them, no doubt, but also something else. Spencer couldn’t tell what it was.

“Sure.” Emily nodded. “So why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like I’m worth your time.”


 

 


Emily was not usually fond of engaging in banter with women; it wasn’t her style. In the first place, she wasn’t even loquacious by nature. But Spencer fascinated her, more than any woman had for a long time. She ignited a spark within her that somehow got her convinced that the brunette wanted to know her just as well as she wanted to know the brunette. And that’s what they had been doing for hours.

The Brew’s owner, a handsome man in his late thirties, closed up shop around them but silently allowed the pair to stay. He even offered to refill their drinks on the house! He must have seen what Emily felt. However, a glance at her watch told her it was approaching ten o’clock. “We should go,” she told Spencer. Out of courtesy to the owner. “Let’s continue this conversation someplace else.” Okay, maybe not just because of that. “You can follow me in your car?”

“I don’t have a car,” Spencer said. “In Rosewood, I mean. I have one in LA, but I flew here and it didn’t make sense renting one when the town is small enough to walk around. Besides, I figured that I should walk for once.”

Emily nodded in understanding. She lived that city life, and she since she required a car because of her job, she knew that finding parking around a metropolis like New York or Los Angeles was a pain. “You can ride in my car, and we’ll just go back to where you’re staying,” she said. “Let’s even pick up dinner on the way.”

“It’s late.”

“A couple of places are still open,” Emily said. “Let’s get pizza or something.” She sensed reluctance in Spencer. “Come on,” she urged. “They do woodfired stuffed crust at this place across the road. Twenty-four hours.”

“All right,” Spencer acquiesced. “I suppose that woman does not live on coffee alone.”

With that, Emily was certain that this was more than simple fascination.


 

 


“I hate to say this because I just met you,” Spencer started, “but you’re so predictable.”

Emily glanced sideways at her. She was busy making hot cocoa in Spencer’s kitchenette in her motel room just on the edge of the township. “What makes you say that?” she asked.

“Your car is a Prius. Did you get lost on the way back from West Hollywood or something?”

“Hey!” Emily protested. “You should see my work car. Toyota Tacoma - the pickup truck? It’s pretty cool, I’m in love with it, but I’m besotted with this Prius. It’s clean, inexpensive, inconspicuous.”

“If you were in West Hollywood.”

“You’re probably one of those people who own a gas guzzling American car and don’t give a fuck about how much they’re spending on gas, because hey, your engine can probably cause one of the houses around here to rock off its foundations.”

“Sure, yeah,” Spencer said vaguely. She drove a restored first generation Chevrolet Camaro, and with the expenses on gas, she didn’t know how she managed to feed herself every week. But she wouldn’t ever admit that to Emily.

“A reprehensible thought,” Emily tutted. She looked Spencer directly in the eye as she offered her the mug of cocoa she just finished stirring. “That’s one of your writer words, isn’t it?”

“Sounds like one,” Spencer said. “But it’s never come up in any dialogue I’ve written, as far as I can remember. It’s just not something that people say, you know?” She sat on her bed, and patted the space next to her for Emily, but the other woman was content to perch on the edge.

“Tell me something,” Emily said. “Why are you writing for television? I thought the Hollywood dream for writers was to get the screenplay on the big screen.”

This was the one sentiment that always made Spencer feel like an underachiever. After her parents had gotten over her choice not to attend law school, they used to ask, “Why TV? Why not film?” And then she would paraphrase Shonda Rhimes to them: “Film is for directors, TV is for writers.” She would leave it at that; some things were not worth arguing with her parents.

However, she planned on being thorough with Emily. She didn’t know what it was about the other woman - probably the way the corner of her lips tugged upwards whenever she heard something which pleased her, or the way her eyes bore into Spencer in a way that made her come off as genuinely interested - but Spencer couldn’t bring herself to half-assed answers.

“I used to write plays, which were kind of like film, but more dialogue-heavy, whereas film and TV are visual. Television allows much more scope and freedom than plays or film.” Ocean of You had only been picked up for ten forty-five minute episodes but that was still the length of five average feature films. “I can explore and stretch out every dimension of a relationship, and do it to several relationships if I want.”

Emily appeared to consider that carefully. Then she said, “So, film is like a short story but television is like a novel.”

“Yeah. It’s exactly like that.” Spencer was grinning. Even after being in Hollywood for over a decade, she had never heard it put that way. Perhaps she was hanging out with the wrong people, though they were mostly writers like her, too. But perhaps Emily was who she had been waiting for all this time. “What about you?” she asked. “Why do you like taking on colonial houses?” Emily had mentioned that in passing.

“Same reason as you write for TV,” Emily said. “Freedom.” There was a wistful smile on her face. “I grew up in Texas, in an army base, because my dad’s a soldier. Every inch of that space was carefully planned. After college I moved to New York and eventually started that business with my best friend, Hanna. It’s a strange place to be a contractor there. All we did was people’s apartments - which were also carefully planned. It felt quite limited. Until someone approached us to a house upstate. There was just so much space, I didn’t know what to do with myself. When we finished it, I think that was one of our best works. And I vowed to do at least take on those kinds of clients as much as I could.”

“I’d love to see some of your work,” Spencer said. “Do you have photos?”

“Not on me, but I can send you some when I get on the computer next time.”

“That’s right. I should give you my email address and my cell number.” Spencer leaned over to grab her phone from the nightstand. She recited her details to Emily, who took them down on her own phone.

Emily returned the favour by sharing her own details. “I’d like to keep in touch,” she said afterwards, in a more timid tone than Spencer had heard her use in the hours they have been talking.

“I’d like that, too.” Spencer couldn’t stop the smile that grew on her face.


 

 


Respectful women don’t try to sleep over on the first date. Especially as it wasn’t even a date. So after using the bathroom just after one o’clock in the morning, Emily told Spencer that she was heading back to her hotel. The brunette’s brows knitted in worry. “Is it safe to drive here at night?”

“I’m sure it is. There are only seven thousand people here, what’s the worst that could happen?”

“Don’t say stuff like that!” Spencer said. “It’s in small towns where the most shit goes down.”

Emily laughed as she walked to Spencer’s door. The other woman was following behind her, albeit slowly. “You watch far too many horror movies,” she said. “You know that Texas Chainsaw Massacre is fiction, right?”

Spencer didn’t respond.

“How about I text you as soon as I get back to my hotel room?” Emily asked. “I’ll probably be the only thirty-four-year-old on the planet that offers to do that to assuage a virtual stranger's feelings?"

"I'm not a virtual stranger!" Spencer was right. They had been talking for over nine hours.

"Okay, I'm sorry!" Emily said. "Friends, then?"

“Fine.” Spencer bit her lip, suddenly shy. “When do you think we’ll see each other again?” The question was directed at Emily’s feet.

“Soon, I hope. It’s up to you, Miss Hollywood, busy head writer of a television show,” Emily teased. Spencer’s eyes were still cast on the ground. “Hey.” She stepped forward and placed a hand on each of the other woman’s shoulders. “Look at me,” she said softly.

Spencer’s eyes rose up to meet hers.

“I like you,” Emily said. She was being unusually frank. “I think we have something. I don’t know what it is, but I want to see where this,” she shook Spencer gently, “takes us.” She looked into Spencer’s eyes properly and felt the insides of her stomach warm up. “Is that okay with you?” Her voice came out so softly, she was surprised that the brunette even heard her.

Her surprise only increased when Spencer leaned forward to press her lips against hers. It was quick and restrained, but Emily managed to taste the sweet hint of the marshmallows from the cocoa on them. Spencer pulled away, and there was apprehension in her eyes. And Emily could hear the tremor in her voice when she asked: “Does that answer your question?”


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 II

It doesn’t seem right
To look you in the eye
And let all the things you mean to me
Come tumbling out my mouth

To: Spencer Hastings <spencer.hastings@gmail.com>
From: Emily Fields <emily@fieldsmarinrenovations.com>
Subject: Check out my new project! (Attachments incl.)

Hey Spence,

Hanna and I checked out this house in Massachusetts today. The client inherited it from his grandfather and he wants to get the inside done up before he moves his young family in there. We worked out a deal to repaint and reshingle the exterior, as well as hiring a landscape architect to tidy up the front. It’s not the big colonial house I like working on but it’s pretty close. I’m so excited!

I miss you so much. I can’t wait for you to catch a break from Hollywood so you can come see me in New York. How about we continue what we started…? (Wow, what a cheesy line! Forget I said that, even if the internet won’t.)

Skype me this weekend!

Emily


Hollywood rule number one: find a buddy. Since meeting at a writer’s workshop in West Hollywood ten years ago, Spencer and Aria stuck together like glue. They wrote for different media, but they meshed together and understood each other unlike anyone else in the industry did.

The one thing about Aria is even if she lived in the city, where there were thousands of dining options, she still preferred driving over to Spencer’s to eat. She met Spencer outside the CBS studios after work and headed to her apartment together after stopping for takeout. “Jesus fucking Christ,” Spencer’s features were arranged in exasperation, “I don’t know how you grew up in that environment. I just sat through a meeting where they talked about how much we would play the gay aspect during the launch parties.”

“You’re having launch parties?”

“One east and one west.”

“I’m impressed.” But Aria began to mutter. Spencer thought she could catch phrases like, “stupid dad”, “fucking sellout” and “corporatisation of artistry” in there. Things were tough when you were a successful indie screenwriter - but a not-so-successful Hollywood romcom writer - with a powerful television showrunner for a father. Especially when said father preferred your best friend over you.

“Hey,” Spencer began in a placating tone, “this is like the most socially forward thing CBS has done since Elementary.” Spencer wasn’t in television for the money; she just wanted to tell stories, and was over the moon that she had the opportunity to do so. And she didn’t want to pat herself on the back too much, but she believed that Ocean of You wasn’t socially forward for the sake of being socially forward. So she told Aria: “Ocean of You is a ‘Modern Love’ column stretched out over ten episodes.” God, she was starting to sound like a Hollywood prick. Aria would think so.

God.” Her best friend glared at her over a box of stir fry noodles. “You’re starting to sound like a Hollywood prick.” There it was.

“Seriously, though,” Spencer said. “Who has meetings over that?”

“Everyone does. You just haven’t realised it yet. Anyway, what’s the verdict over it?”

Spencer leaned forward. “Apparently we mention the characters’ names and that they fall in love and shit, but we don’t mention any labels around sexuality at all, unless it’s asked by press during the Q and A,” she told Aria. “Since when did it take three and a half hours to decide that, though?”

“Since One Million Moms started watching television,” Aria said.

Jesus.” Spencer raised her can of Diet Coke in the air. “Hollywood, am I right?”

“Ah, you said it.” Aria bumped her can with Spencer’s gently, shaking her head. “And we’re stupid enough to want to work there.”

“I need a break.” Spencer worked as a production assistant on numerous sets, then eventually worked on developing storylines on established TV shows, before beginning to cowrite for CBS. Ocean of You was everything she had aspired to, but it hadn’t even begun and she was exhausted by all of it already.

“Yeah, you can do that after the premiere,” Aria said. “Right now, you have to focus on the launch parties. It’s one in LA and one in New York, right?”

“Right.”

“Spencer!” Aria was grinning, obviously just having realised something. “New York! I’m sure you can take an afternoon off to live your ‘Modern Love’ column.”

New York. Spencer chewed on the inside of her cheek as she came to a realisation of her own. “Yeah. That’s right,” she said, injecting as much extra enthusiasm as she could. “Modern love.”


 

 

 


They say that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. They say that you shouldn’t do work with your friends. They said you should keep your professional life outside the home. But if Emily didn’t do that, she’d probably be homeless, unemployed and back in Texas, living on her parents’ dime.

After her business degree led to nowhere she wanted to be, Emily did odd jobs for a furniture restoration business in New York when she met Hanna Marin. Hanna was working part time as a waitress while finishing an architecture degree at CUNY. She was blonde, sunny and fashion forward - the kind of girl Emily avoided in high school, because she either got bullied by them or fell for them, sometimes both. Hanna becoming her best friend, then her business partner, was unexpected, but felt completely right.

Fields & Marin Renovations came to be after the pair renovated an apartment as a favour for a friend, and discovered that they were good at it. Emily took care of the admin and management side, and was on site most days when there was an ongoing project, while Hanna was in charge of the design side. They barely kept the business afloat during its early years, but now, at seven years old, it was well and truly thriving. To think that it was a business two twenty-somethings started on a crazy idea.

They were in Massachusetts that day, inspecting the progress on the space they were working on. During a break, they sipped iced tea and scrolled on their phones. “What a great house,” Hanna was gushing, “The subcontractors have done an awesome job, and I’m really seeing it come together.” But Emily was busy smiling at her phone. “What are you doing that for?”

Emily’s eyes shot up to meet hers. The smile disappeared. “Doing what for?”

“Smiling at your screen like an idiot.”

“Just checked my calendar and read that Spencer is going to be here in two weeks.” This time, Emily’s smile started out hesitant, then blew up into a grin. “It’s for work, but she says she can get a night off and we can spend that time together.” They hadn’t seen each other for almost two months. Emily felt somewhere beyond excited.

“Oh yeah, you told me about that. Bet you’re excited, it’s been a long time!” Hanna demanded to know all the details about Spencer since Emily got back from Rosewood. The blonde was enthusiastic about her friend’s new success in her love life, unlike before, when Emily hadn’t bothered dating women seriously, and just slept with them. “Do you need me to vacate the apartment for that night?” Hanna asked. “I can go over to Caleb’s.”

Emily didn’t want to seem forthcoming about what she planned to do with Spencer that night, even to Hanna, but as a precaution she said, “Yes, please.” She stood up and turned around, hiding the blush she could feel rising up her cheeks. Just because she enjoyed sex, didn’t mean she was confident enough to talk about it so casually. “We should get back to work. I want to get back to New York before sundown.”


 

 

 


Spencer was itching to escape the Upper East Side hotel they were checked into. After the meeting - which was held in Byron Montgomery’s suite - she went back to her room to change into sneakers, black shorts and a loose, thin white t-shirt under a cardigan, packed a small bag with her city essentials and practically sprinted to the elevators.

The late May weather granted Spencer’s vision more access to Emily’s body. The taller woman was wearing denim cutoffs that fell to the middle of a toned thigh and a light pink scoop neck t-shirt, with startlingly clean white canvas sneakers. Spencer took a moment to find her words. “I expected a contractor, not America’s Next Top Model.”

Emily broke into delighted laughter as she took Spencer into her arms and held her tightly. “You didn’t really expect me to turn up to Manhattan in flannel and a toolbelt, didn’t you?” Her warm, sweet breath tickled Spencer’s ear. She sighed. “I missed you, Spencer.”

Spencer’s heart melted as she looked into Emily’s brown eyes. “I missed you too.”

“So, let’s go to lunch.”

Lunch was at a shawarma place just three blocks away from Greenwich Village. Emily proclaimed it as one of her favourite food joints in New York. The place didn’t look promising, with its stark decor and plastic tables and chairs, but Emily’s enthusiasm at saying, “Lamb - and lay on the hummus” suggested that it should be given the benefit of a doubt. Spencer did so. She ordered a chicken shawarma - which the other woman jumped at the chance to pay for - and her eyes widened at the first bite.

Emily looked on as Spencer experienced somewhat of an epiphany. “Ah, there are many dreams to be realised in Los Angeles, but having a shawarma that good is not one of them,” she said, in a mock philosophical tone.

“Well, you won’t find a burrito here that’s as good as the ones in LA, that’s for sure,” Spencer shot back. But Emily merely shrugged and ate her shawarma contentedly. Contented. That’s one word that came to mind when Spencer thought about Emily. She was just so damn contented with her life, her business, her bimonthly trips to see her parents, her shawarma. People like them chased dreams in cities like New York and Los Angeles, and Spencer was one of them, but Emily appeared to be above all that. “But you’re not after burritos, are you?”

“The only thing I’m after in LA is you.” Well, you had to give it to a woman who knew what she wanted.

“What makes me so great?” Spencer’s tone was teasing, but she genuinely wanted to know what Emily thought of her.

“You’re going to be Hollywood famous soon and I’d like to be your sugar baby.”

“What?”

“Spencer.” Emily laughed. “You know I’m kidding!” She took a sip from her can of soda and dabbed at her mouth with a napkin before continuing, “You really wanna know why you’re so great?”

“Sure, try me.” Spencer swallowed nervously.

“From the moment I met you, I had one word to describe you,” Emily told her. “You were challenging.” Spencer nodded for her to go on. “I just wanted to know you better, and the longer we talked, the more you told me I about yourself, the more I wanted to know. You’re the most interesting person I’ve, but getting to know you doesn’t come to me easy. I knew from the beginning that I need to work for it. I love that about you. I love that there’s always more to know.”

“And what if there’s no longer anything to know?”

“I doubt that will ever happen,” Emily said surely.

Spencer wanted to snort at the irony. If only she knew. Since she met Emily, she had tried to make her heart hard. She had tried to close her doors. Yes, she wanted to see where she was headed with Emily, and but didn’t expect to fall so hard, butterflies and other shitty metaphors and included. Her efforts to restrain herself failed, again and again. She didn’t understand why, but Emily undid her. She wasn’t sure if she liked that.

“Hey, what are you thinking?” Emily gently broke her reverie.

Spencer gave her the best flirtatious smile she could muster. “How did you know that I’m thinking?”

“Because your forehead gets all wrinkly when you think too hard.”

It does not!”

“Does too!” Emily nodded. “So, spill.”

“I was thinking,” Spencer started off coyly, “that we should get out of here. Like, as soon as possible. You should take me to your favourite museum. Wait, have you got a favourite museum?” Pathetic attempt to divert the topic, but she discovered that talking to Emily about New York was always a sure success.

Emily finished her shawarma as quickly as she could, and leading Spencer by the hand, they made their way back to the Upper East Side to enter MoMA. They stopped by the Met briefly after that, and then walked through Central Park before stopping at a family-owned Italian restaurant in Brooklyn for dinner. The owners approached them personally - apparently Emily and Hanna renovated their family compound - and overjoyed that Emily had brought someone on a date, announced that their meal was on the house.

They shared a pint of chocolate gelato after dinner, and then, feet sore and hands anxious, they took a cab to Emily’s apartment on the Upper West Side. They barely got out of the elevator onto the hallway when Spencer, who had spent the evening restless with want and confusion, was already fiddling with the button on Emily’s denim cutoffs, her mouth already feasting on the taller woman’s collarbone.

Attentive lover did not mean anything to Spencer until she had met Emily. The meaning of the phrase came to her accompanied by goosebumps racing down her spine and a whimper escaping from her lips. They lay in bed while Emily ghosted her fingers over her ribcage and kissed her shoulder at the same time.

Using the same hand, she pulled herself forward so that her front pressed against Spencer’s back. Spencer’s eyes involuntarily rolled back in her head. The sensation of bare skin on skin, so searing hot she was surprised there wasn’t hissing and smoke. Emily’s right hand moved up to tangle in Spencer’s hair, gently massaging her scalp. And Spencer found Emily's left hand sliding down Spencer’s belly, to between her legs, where both of them wanted it to be.

Afterwards, Emily urged her to turn around and lay her head on her chest. Spencer obliged and held on tight, listening to the other woman’s heartbeat. Emily absently played with Spencer’s hair. Spencer sighed, satisfied. Emily Fields undid her, and she was certain that she didn’t like it. She loved it.


 

 

 


“Good morning,” a raspy voice happily murmured at her.

Emily raised her head to find that she was draped half on top of Spencer, her head resting on the other woman’s shoulder. They probably fell asleep in this position after the fourth - or was it the fifth? - round last night. Covers had been kicked off at one point, leaving both of them lying on top of the sheet, naked and tangled. It was incomprehensibly sexy. And Emily told Spencer so.

“If it really is incomprehensible, then why can you still talk?” Spencer asked.

“You’re not accounting for the number of seconds I took to come up with that,” Emily retorted.

Spencer nodded. “That is true. What time is it?”

Emily propped herself up on one arm to glance at the time on her clock radio. “It’s eight o’clock,” she said. “Do you have anywhere to be?”

“Nah. There’s a five star continental breakfast waiting for me at the hotel, but I think I’d rather stay here.” Spencer made a show of running a hand down Emily’s bare back, stopping as she slapped Emily’s ass lightly. “It’s not every often that I wake up like this.”

“You don’t have sex often?”

“Not with people as gorgeous as you. And not with people who stay in the morning.”

“So, you do have sex…” Emily didn’t like the idea of Spencer having sex with other people, but they hadn’t talked about the definitions and boundaries of their relationship, so it was probably a given that they weren’t exclusive. “I mean, that’s fine, but we really mean to discuss this -”

“Emily,” Spencer cut her off calmly. “I was talking about the past.”

“Oh,” Emily said, feeling silly almost immediately. “Right. Makes sense.”

“Silly.” Spencer tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “Have you been with anyone else since we met?”

Emily shook her head. Ever since the kiss that night in Rosewood, she hadn’t been able to get Spencer out of her head. She stopped frequenting bars, she stopped flirting in bookstores and coffee shops. No other woman could come close to making her feel what Spencer made her feel in that brief kiss. Besides, for the first time in her adult life, she actually wanted someone in more than a sexual capacity.

“I was hoping there wouldn’t be anyone else.” Spencer’s voice was deliciously husky that Emily had to fight the urge to grab her again for another round.

So she blurted out, “Do you want me to make some breakfast? I make a great runny fried egg.”

“Sure, that would be great,” Spencer said. “And coffee?”

“I can make you coffee.”

“I’d rather make it myself.”

“I got this.” Emily shook her head vehemently. “I worked as a barista for two years in high school. My coffee is the bomb.”

Spencer looked suitably impressed. “I’ve never been with a barista either.”

Emily got up. She leaned over Spencer and pressed their lips together for a long, sensual kiss. “Consider this a revelation then,” she said, after pulling away. “You wouldn’t want to do things any other way ever again.” She could only hope.


 

 

 


It seemed that Emily had a bottomless appetite. Not just for food, but for sex. Not that Spencer had any problem with that. Moments after she promised to cook breakfast, they launched into another couple of rounds, and then Emily invited her to shower together. Only after then did they start on breakfast. It was almost eleven o’clock when they stumbled out of the Upper West Side apartment building with full stomachs and washed hair.

“Good night?” Emily’s eyes were probing Spencer’s face thoughtfully. They crossed Central Park heading to the other side of Manhattan. Emily had offered to walk Spencer back to her hotel then meet with a wallpaper supplier in the area for her project.

“Great night,” Spencer said. Her eyebrows knitted together nervously. She saw those texts from Toby and Aria this morning, and she didn’t know what she was returning to back at the hotel.

“I hope I don’t have to wait another two months for this again.” Emily reached out and squeezed her hand.

Spencer resisted the urge to pull it away. She knew she couldn’t give Emily everything, but she could give her that much. “We’ll see about that,” she said shakily. She tried to arrange her features into a playful smirk. “I’m a very busy woman, you know.”

“I know.” Emily laughed. “I’m proud of you. I’ll watch your show every night, promise.”

“You don’t have to.”

“I want to,” Emily said. “Think of it as another way to get to know you more.”

“Are you really sure you want to get to know me more?” Spencer asked. She watched Emily shrug, and once again, envied how the other woman was so sure of herself. After another ten minutes, they reached the lobby of her hotel. “Well, this is my stop,” she said awkwardly.

Emily’s tone was back to her charming self, “It’s been grand, Spencer Hastings. Good luck for your premiere.” But then it quietened. “Keep in touch and don’t forget little me, waiting here when it all blows over, okay?”

“Yeah,” Spencer responded, equally quiet. Just as she moved to hug Emily for the last time until she-doesn’t-know-when, there was a hand on her shoulder.

“There you are!”

Spencer turned around. “Toby!” she exclaimed. Her heart dropped.

“You didn’t answer my texts from last night,” Toby said, although not accusingly. “I was wondering where you ended up.” His eyes flicked up to Emily’s. Spencer immediately wondered what he thought of her.

Placing a hand on Emily’s shoulder, she cleared her throat. “Toby, this is Emily. She’s a friend of mine around here. She took me around the city yesterday and I stayed the night in her apartment.” She looked at Emily, who was scowling in confusion. “Emily, this is Toby. We’re -”

“I’m her boyfriend,” Toby said. “It’s nice to meet you, Emily.” His blue eyes glinted with pride as he took Spencer’s hand and tugged him towards her. Toby kissed her quickly and chastely, but Spencer felt like hell anyway, because he did it in front of Emily.

“I better go,” Emily said, her voice unusually hard. “Thanks for coming, Spencer. I had fun showing you New York.” Without even waiting for a reply, she turned on her heel and marched through the door, not looking back.


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

III
It makes me so tired
I feel so uninspired
My head is battling with my heart
My logic has been torn apart

Fempop; June 12, 2014
Summer TV: Ocean of You

CBS’s summer offering Ocean of You premiered on June 10 to above average ratings - 7 million people tuned in for the pilot - and widespread praise on the social media and in publications such as Salon, The Atlantic and The Hollywood Reporter, among others.

Ocean of You is a dramedy set in the San Francisco. The focus is on two women - Taylor, a journalist, and Brooke, a product manager at a tech company - who meet at a convention and are immediately drawn to each other. Yet this is more than just a romance. Although Ocean of You is about the attraction between two women, it is also about the way they navigate their careers, their other relationships and their connection to the city they chose as home.

With a female-driven cast and an up-and-coming newcomer as the show’s head writer, Ocean of You is surely one of this season’s Must Watches for Fempop. It airs on CBS on Tuesday nights on 9PM.


A can of beer in one hand and the television’s remote control in the other, Emily stretched her legs out on the coffee table to watch the new episode of Ocean of You. It was torture to watch it, but she made a promise to Spencer that she would. A promise is a promise. She honoured her end, despite what Spencer did to her.

It only took a few clicks online to find out more about Toby. He was a photographer based in Los Angeles. Emily had browsed his portfolio, and discovered that although he earned his money through fashion and editorial photography, he dabbled in documentary photography. Which should have come off as pretentious if his collections weren’t so great. And from what Emily saw of him, he wasn’t just creative, but he was good-looking, too. She imagined Spencer first seeing Toby’s icy blue eyes and cleft chin as he lowered his camera, and immediately feeling a spark alight in her chest.

Kind of like what happened when she first saw Spencer.

Emily placed the remote on the arm of the couch and fired up the Twitter app on her tablet. She guessed it was network policy, but Spencer was active on social media when the show is airing live, for the east and the west showing. Her last tweet was from two minutes ago: “Are you ready, East Coast?!! LET’S DO THIS”. This was uncharacteristically peppy coming from Spencer. Emily could imagine her cringing as she wrote it out on her own tablet in LA.

The cold open of the episode faded to black and launched into the first riffs of the opening theme’s guitar. Emily sipped her beer as the lyrics ran through her head before the breathy-voiced singer - covering the Bic Runga original - even sang them. I fall into an ocean of you, pull me out in time, she took another sip, don’t let me drown, let me down. I say it’s all because of you.

“You know, you’re never going to forget Spencer if you don’t stop watching her show.” Hanna settled in next to her. There were credits flashing on the bottom left corner of the screen. Created by Spencer Hastings. She sent a pointed look at Emily.

Emily folded her arms. “Seeing her name won’t make me go into a funk. It’s a good show!”

“It’s not even seeing her name that gets you all moody every time you sit down here on a Tuesday night,” Hanna said. “It’s the story, and you obsessing over what - or who - she was thinking of while she was writing it.” She glanced at Emily pulling to refresh her feed. “And you’re also obsessing over what she has to say about what she wrote, no matter how much you know it’s just stuff that pretends to be more personal than it actually is.”

“Whatever.” It was frustrating how often Hanna got Emily pegged.

But at least Hanna knew when to drop it. She turned back to the screen. “It is a good show, though,” she said. She giggled, a little half-heartedly, probably for the purpose of defusing the tension. “I wouldn’t be watching it with you every week, not with my attention span.”

During the first commercial break, Hanna was on her phone, greedily scrolling through her Instagram feed. She had followed plenty of interior designers and landscape architects on the social media application, and so to her, it was a good source of ideas. Emily smiled at her, and she smiled back. They were both aware of the truth; Hanna didn’t have the attention span for many things, not even for television shows late at night when work was supposed to be over. Emily loved her for trying so hard.


AfterEllen.com; June 25, 2014 [Excerpt]
“Ocean of You” creator Spencer Hastings on life, writing and her unexpected summer hit

AE: Am I correct in saying that although you are the creator and the head writer for the show, there is a different showrunner?

SH: Yes, that’s correct.

AE: Now, why is that?

SH [chuckling]: I guess you could say that I’m a baby in Hollywood terms. Ocean of You would not have been possible without the guidance and the legwork provided by an industry heavyweight, Byron Montgomery, who is the current showrunner. The situation right now is temporary. If the network buys more episodes, then Bryon and I have an agreement that he will help me transition into becoming a showrunner - and I love writing, but I’m rather excited for the possibility.

AE: I’m sure the network will buy more episodes. The show is a success!

SH: Well, thanks. You can’t see over the phone but I’m blushing. [laughs] We’ll see. Byron’s handling that end, so I can’t say much about it.

AE: Not even a little?

SH: Let’s just say I got my fingers crossed.


No matter how exhausted you were or how busy you were, when a Hollywood big name asks you to come to a party, you drop everything and go. And that’s what Spencer did tonight. She didn’t go to as many events as Byron Montgomery did, but he was adamant on “training” her to do what showrunners do, so he had asked - no, he had told - her to come to a party in a hotel in LA to shadow him.

Except Byron disappeared into a crowd of people, leaving Spencer standing there with champagne and a variety of hors d'oeuvres being shoved in her face every minute and a half.

An arm wrapped around her waist slowly. “I thought you’d be staying in tonight. With those bug glasses of yours and your giant coffee sippy cup,” the voice was droll, its owner obviously smiling.

Spencer turned to face her icy blue-eyed, strong-jawed boyfriend. “I’m here in a work capacity,” she said. “Byron was supposed to be introducing me to people but I don’t know where he’s gone.” Boyfriend. To think that the journey of them getting to that point involved plenty of deception on Spencer’s part. Deception that she mostly did not feel guilty about.

“Well, I suppose I should be your partner until you two find each other again,” Toby suggested.

“Yes, you should,” Spencer said.

She leaned into Toby’s chest and breathed in the light scent of his cologne. They first met at the CBS studios. Spencer was just leaving the building from one of her endless meetings while Toby - she found out - had snuck in on a different premise, but was actually there to talk to employees and take their photos for a photo essay he was working on about the people behind the scenes of Hollywood. This was a month before she met Emily in Rosewood. In that month, she had been on five dates with him, but nothing more. She didn’t expect to want to continue the relationship, especially after getting to know Emily, but once she got back to Los Angeles, she agreed to go on another date with Toby. A few days later, they went on another date, and finally, they were officially in a relationship.

It wasn’t like Spencer was tricked into it. The truth was that she was lonely. So incredibly lonely. Hollywood was soul-crushing, even to the most enduring of people. Picking Toby over Emily, whom she believed was further away than she could handle, was a choice she blamed on her weak spirit. She knew then that being with Toby was going to be easier than being with Emily. What she didn’t know was that she wasn’t as weak as she thought. After all, it did survive around five months of lying to two perfectly good-hearted people.

And Spencer was still lying to one of them now.

Toby was talking to her: “You should come over to mine after this party,” he said. “I feel like we haven’t spent any proper time together in weeks.”

“I’ve been busy with writing and everything.” Spencer waved in a vague direction. “I’m not really in the headspace right now. Maybe we can go to dinner in a couple of nights when I’ve aired my brain out.”

“Sure.” Toby chuckled at Spencer’s words. That was what Spencer liked about him. He was easygoing; he didn’t seem to overthink things. “A buddy of mine told me about this really good steakhouse near Santa Monica that I’m eager to try. Maybe we can drive out there one night, when neither of us are busy.” That was another thing she liked: he never made her feel like she’s inconvenienced him, and wanted her to assume that he was as busy - and as likely to ask for a raincheck - as she was.

“Steakhouse? Sounds amazing. I’m in,” Spencer said. “I’m surprised you don’t have a camera around your neck tonight.”

“Well, no one asked me to cover this party.” Toby shrugged and dipped his chin so his mouth was next to Spencer’s ear. “And I hardly ever cover parties anyway. More of awards functions, which are basically the same thing, only with even more bullshit laid on top.” He laughed, which made Spencer laugh, too. He was right anyway.

Spencer mentally examined her schedule. She planned to go home around midnight and write until about three in the morning and then crashing to bed. The twelfth episode of Ocean of You just needed her finishing touches before she could start on the thirteenth. Bryon was still in talks to get the network to buy more episodes, but he had advised her to write at least four episodes in advance.

“Perhaps you can come over tomorrow night,” she said. She needed a break from writing. Thinking about Taylor and Brooke and San Francisco always led her back to thinking of Emily. She didn’t expect the woman to be her greatest inspiration, but shit happens. “We can watch silly movies and not think about work for a whole night.”

“A whole night?” Toby asked teasingly. “You really can keep away from your world of women and romance and San Francisco for so long?”

I need to, Spencer wanted to tell him, I need to keep away from that world, for us. Instead, she said: “Ever heard of ‘taking a break’?”

Toby cocked his head curiously. “Not from your mouth, I haven’t.”

“Okay then,” Spencer said. “Tomorrow night, we’re taking a break.” No Ocean of You. No writing. No revisiting the feelings she felt when she turned around to respond to the question that stranger posed to her while in the coffee line at the Rear Window Brew.


Entertainment Weekly news blog; June 30, 2014
“Ocean of You” receives 10-episode back order from CBS

When CBS premiered Ocean of You at the beginning of the month, they probably didn’t know that it was going to be such a hit.

The dramedy, which is produced by industry legend Byron Montgomery and created by rapidly rising newbie Spencer Hastings, has achieved record ratings for a summer show in its Tuesday 9PM slot.

CBS has announced that it has ordered 10 more episodes for the winter season, but has kept mum on whether they have made a decision to renew the show for a second season.


The girl - no, the woman - was a giggler.

She giggled as Emily pushed her inside her apartment. As the back of her legs bumped the edge of the bed, causing both of them to topple over. As Emily’s resolute fingers undid the buttons of her shirt. As she tilted her head upwards to allow Emily more access to her neck. She giggled. A lot.

Before, Emily didn’t mind what kind of noises - if at all - the women she slept with made. Sex was a thoughtless thing then; as long as she got what she wanted, why would what happened in between matter? But this time it was different.

The woman kept giggling beneath her as hands ran up her sides and a nipple was in Emily’s mouth.

Spencer didn’t giggle. When Emily had done this to her, it elicited the deepest, throatiest moans. From her place on Spencer’s torso, she felt the brunette’s diaphragm vibrating with the force and volume of the sounds. It was one of the sexiest sensations Emily has ever encountered. Nothing compared since.

Emily just wanted to lose herself, like she did in the past, before Spencer came into her life. She was finding it hard to do that. And not just because of the giggling. It wasn’t like she had any other option, though. And so, blocking the noise as much as she could, she pulled the woman’s panties down.

The next morning she staggered out of the woman’s bedroom fully dressed in the rumpled items of clothing she shed. Her companion from last night was staring absently at the coffeemaker. “Morning,” Emily said cautiously.

The woman lifted her eyes, the corners of which crinkled into a smile, to meet Emily’s. “Would you like to stay to have some coffee?”

It was Saturday. She wasn’t expected anywhere. No one was going to look for her. Why the hell not? “Sure.” She walked up to the kitchen counter and received a steaming mug of drip coffee from the blonde. Cream, sugar and two percent milk were slid across to her, and she helped herself.

As a rule, Emily usually didn’t look around her one night stand’s apartments. Apartments were such personal spaces - almost sacred - and she didn’t do personal. But as she stirred cream into her coffee, something caught her eye. A canvas print of a panorama of San Francisco Bay - complete with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in view - hung above the couch.

“You like it?” the woman asked. “I got it at a street market in the Village last year.”

“It’s beautiful.” Emily was talking to herself more than she was talking to her companion.

“I love San Francisco,” the woman gushed. “I went to college at Merritt and my friends and I would go into the city to hang around at Castro almost every weekend. Sometimes we even came back early from breaks just to party at Castro. Those were amazing times.”

“Sounds like a great city.”

“It’s actually quite underappreciated. Everyone fusses about LA or New York, but hardly anyone talks about San Francisco. I was so happy when Ocean of You began to air,” the woman was saying. “Finally, someone who knows that San Francisco should be flaunted! Do you watch the show?”

Emily’s insides somersaulted at the sound of someone mentioning that show. Spencer’s show. “Y-yeah,” she stammered. “Of course I watch it. It’s pretty great, huh?”

The blonde grinned. “I’ve never fallen in love with a TV show so quickly before.”

“I know what you mean.” Emily had never fallen in love with a woman so quickly before. A woman who told stories that make people feel as if they were falling, too.

Aware that she looked distracted, she smiled at the blonde woman across the kitchen counter. It dawned on Emily that sometime during the events of last night, she forgot her name.


Just Jared; July 13, 2014

Bachelor no more? SPOTTED: Photographer Toby Cavanaugh and writer Spencer Hastings

Shutterbug to the stars Toby Cavanaugh was seen walking on Sunset Boulevard hand in hand with TV writer Spencer Hastings last night.

The two appeared to have emerged from Boulevard3, where a launch party for singer Noel Kahn’s - reportedly a friend to both Toby and Spencer - was being held.

As one of the few of Hollywood’s hunky bachelors who prefers being behind the camera, it makes sense for Toby to pause his bachelorhood by dating someone who works behind the scenes, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 [snapshot from bystander]

Several attendees of the same party told Just Jared that even if they arrived separately, the two were “awfully cozy” throughout the night. And judging from the photo we got from our witness, they left together.

Neither Toby nor Spencer could be reached for comment. We are honestly not surprised. We know how elusive their types can be!


“Oh my god.” Spencer swore that she could literally feel her brain buzzing in excitement. “You’re not serious?” She let out an exhilarated laugh. She couldn’t really think right now. “Please be serious.”

“Dead serious, Spencer,” the voice on the other end said.

“We should do something,” she suggested hastily.

“Already got it sorted. I got my secretary calling places. I’ll email you with the details once that’s sorted?”

“Sure, yeah, that sounds awesome.” Spencer was talking so fast she began to sound incoherent, even to herself. She breathed deeply. “Thank you so much. You have no idea how thrilled I am.” A new door had been opened for her. A set of French double doors, if her imagination had to be specific.

“Oh, I think I have a good idea,” the other person said amusedly. “Good night, Spencer.”

“Good night, Byron.” Spencer hung up. Her phone shook precariously in her hand so she steadied her grip. She practically leapt from her seat and began to pace. She needed to tell someone. She scrolled through her phone and pressed the name she couldn’t get off her mind.

One ring. Two rings. Three, four, five, six, seven rings. Then just when she was about to hang up, a click. “Hello? Spencer? Is everything okay?”

She actually picked up! Spencer stifled a gasp. “Emily! Everything’s okay, everything’s fine,” she said. “Oh god, it’s good to hear your voice.”

Emily’s voice shifted from concerned to sharp. “What’s going on?”

This threw Spencer off guard. “Oh, you know,” she said. “Just seeing how you are.”

“I’m good, thanks,” Emily snapped. “Not much has changed.”

“I,” Spencer hesitated, “I somehow don’t think that’s true.”

The woman’s anger was barely contained this time around. “And you would know this because you caused it, Spencer,” she said. “Of course everything’s changed. Did you really expect things to remain the same?”

“How’s the business going?” A change of subject was a stupid thing to do, but she only just realised that now. Spencer mentally kicked herself. This was going so great.

“Why are you calling me?” Emily demanded, seeing right through Spencer’s bullshit.

“I have news that I wanted to share,” Spencer said slowly, “Ocean of You is being renewed for a second season. The press release is coming out from CBS tomorrow.”

“That’s great, Spencer.” There was a hint of softness in Emily’s voice this time, and Spencer knew she meant it. But then her tone went cold again. “I’m happy for you. You deserve the second season.”

“I just want you to know that you were my greatest inspiration.” Spencer wanted to add, “and you still are”, but Emily seemed to be nearing the end of her tether, trying to be patient.

“Glad to know.”

“Thank you, Emily.”

“You know, I was really happy when I saw the news about you getting a back order,” Emily said. “I can’t wait for the show to come back in January. It’s very good work, Spence. You should be proud.”

Spencer smiled, despite herself. The second half of the season was written as a love letter to Emily. But that is something she’d never say out loud. “Well, I better go now,” she said. “I’m sure I was being an interruption.”

“That’s cool,” Emily said. “Spencer?” Her voice was different this time.

“Yeah?” 

“I hope that you and Toby are happy.”

Spencer couldn’t bring herself to say that every day, she wished it wasn’t Toby she was happy with. Sighing, she closed the conversation, “Good night, Emily.”

“Good night, Spencer."


The Hollywood Reporter; October 6-12, 2014 [Excerpt]
Spencer Hastings: TV’s newest rising star

THR: Did you imagine that Ocean of You was going to get this kind of success?

SH: Definitely not. CBS took a chance with me by airing the show and I’m glad they did. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known that the story of Taylor and Brooke would resonate with so many people.

THR: It sure did. Let me ask you something: why San Francisco?

SH: It’s a city I’ve always loved. I lived there for a year, in between graduating from college and deciding to want to be a screenwriter. Around that time, Silicon Valley was all the rage. Well, you know, it still is, but this was when computers started getting smaller and software started getting faster. The Bay Area became a mixture of the old - the heritage and the creative history of San Francisco - and the new. Taylor and Brooke from the show exemplify those two main ingredients that make the Bay Area what it is today. A journalist - a writer - and someone who works in tech. This element of San Francisco is something that’s often overlooked when it comes to looking for rich settings to set the story in. People think LA, New York, Miami, some small town in the Northeast. I wanted to break the mold. And I made sure that San Francisco kind of spoke for itself in the script.

THR: It did just that, trust me. So what’s in store for the audience for the rest of the season?

SH: Exciting stuff - hopefully? We didn’t end the first half on a cliffhanger, yet we made sure that there is still more room for the characters and their relationships to grow. And that’s something that will be explored in January. So… stay tuned. Pretty please!


Hanna’s marching into the living room roused Emily. She had fallen asleep at her desk. Her computer was still running and there were beer cans and crumpled pieces of paper surrounding it. The stench of stale alcohol wafted up to her nostrils. Whatever she was doing before she fell asleep was clearly unsavoury. “Why are you so loud?” she asked groggily. “What time is it?”

“It’s eleven thirty in the morning. You’re supposed to be on site and you were supposed to be finishing up invoices last night.” Hanna had her hands on her hips, and her lips were an irate slash. Emily found that dangerous. It was rare that Hanna displayed irritation.

“Shit. I’ll shower and head straight there.”

“I already called the head builder, told them you weren’t feeling so good today so you’ll be there tomorrow,” Hanna said. “And I can see those invoices aren’t done, so you can finish those after your shower.” Nose turned up, she had an air of authority, which Emily had seen before, but not directed at her.

“Okay,” she relented. She got up, stretched and made for the bathroom.

“Hang on,” Hanna said sharply. “We’re not done here yet.”

Turning around, Emily blew out a heavy breath. “What is it, Han?”

“Can you just get your shit together?” Hanna demanded. “It’s been months since Spencer screwed you over, and you’re drinking a lot and having one night stands again and it used to be fine before Spencer, but now it’s affecting your work, your business. Our business. This isn’t the first time you’ve slacked on invoices since you found out she had a boyfriend.”

Emily found herself slack-jawed. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you’re heartbroken. And I get that, I really do,” Hanna said. “But seriously, if you’re going to be like this forever, I can always put a freelance project manager on contract until you sort yourself out.”

“Is that a threat?”

“It should be.”

“I don’t have time for this, Hanna.” Emily started towards the bathroom again.

This is your career, Emily. It’s something that you love. You used to have time for it. Until the person you thought understood your passion the most hurt you.” Hanna’s voice was lower this time, gentler. “I wish you didn’t do that, Em. Don’t tie your love for what you do to what Spencer did to you.”

Emily said nothing. She walked over to the bathroom instead, not letting anything stop her this time around. She couldn’t help smirking in satisfaction when she pushed the bathroom door shut, so that Hanna’s face would be out of sight.

After a long, hot shower, she returned to her desk to find it clean, and the computer turned off. There were a stack of folders by her keyboard. Emily recognised them immediately. Applications to get an appointment for a meeting and a quote for a renovation job. The Post-it on the top folder had Hanna’s loopy writing on it: I know staring at a spreadsheet all night isn’t fun. You should look at these first. Tell me what you think. She wanted Emily to prioritise the appointments by assessing the information about the places that needed renovating.

It took thirty minutes for her to finish going through the stack. There was already a potential project that she knew she wanted to work on. While she waited for Hanna to return, she finished those invoices with newfound motivation.


 #00207

Client Name: Lilly BakerPhone No.: [xxx-xxxx]Email: [--@----.com]

Home address: [-----], Potrero Hill, San Francisco

 

Type of building: Residential, self-detached  Age: 20-25 years old

Address: [----], Noe Valley, San Francisco

 

 

 

 

 

 


[picture of exterior attached]