Spencer had stayed for four days. Most of that time was spent with Aaron when he wasn’t working or in classes. In his free time, he borrowed his Uncle’s old Fujica Six, an old ’57 version with a fold-down viewfinder. It was a camera that he had played with as a kid in the early ‘90’s. It was one of his favorite long exposure cameras because he could get some unusual shots. His favorite thing to do was cause a flare across the film at just the right angle for different effects. His Uncle didn’t have his own darkroom, but the local junior college would rent their darkroom by the hour to professional photographers that didn’t have the space for their own equipment. It was the best four days he had ever had. The only thing that marred their time together was when they were out in public Spencer couldn’t hold Aaron’s hand, or put his arm around Aaron’s waist, or even kiss him when he wanted. The threat of violence, even in the more open attitudes of SoHo, was everywhere.
On day four Spencer realized he needed to get back home, at least for a little while. He knew things with he and Maeve were bad and a part of him was hiding out in this time and place with Aaron. It had become almost a haven for him. He was away from the pain and the constant reminder of his loss.
He had his head in Aaron’s lap and they were both reading and enjoying the quiet. Aaron was unconsciously carding his fingers thorough Spencer’s hair and it lulled him into a sense of peace he had felt in over a year. He put his book on his chest and took a deep breath knowing this was going to be a difficult conversation.
“What’s wrong Penny?” Aaron had taken to calling him that and for some reason Spencer really liked it.
“I need to get home. I left some unfinished business behind.” He knew Aaron wanted to ask him, but his lover didn’t. Aaron didn’t want to push him, and he was grateful for it.
“You’ll come back though, right?” Spencer was taken aback by the uncertainty he heard in Aaron’s voice. Sitting up he crawled into Aaron’s lap, leaned in and kissed him.
“Nothing short of locking me up somewhere could keep me from you,” Spencer whispered against Aaron’s lips.
“Good because I think we have something here Spencer. I know our relationship isn’t ideal, I know how the outside world feels about us, but I just, I can’t help it Penny. I…“ Spencer put a finger on Aaron’s lips to stop the words he knew Aaron was going to say.
“Not yet. Please, just give me a little time.”
Aaron smiled as he pulled Spencer in close and kissed him, “Okay, I’ll wait to say it.”
Spencer reluctantly stood and went to the bedroom to put away the few things he had left at Aaron’s. One day Aaron had taken Spencer out clothes shopping. He had always dressed a little in the Mod style anyway, and the fact that Mod and Skinhead styles were back in during his time helped a lot. After cleaning up he grabbed the amulet from his side of the bed, which made Spencer smile to think about, and put it around his neck. Moving back to the front of the small apartment he pulled Aaron into his arms and held him close.
“I’ll be back, I promise.”
“I’ll hold you to that promise.” Aaron kissed his lover once more before Spencer pulled away and left.
He made it back to his Uncle’s apartment a few minutes later.
“So, kid, what have ya’ decided?”
“I’m going back home and I’m going to figure that out Uncle. I don’t think there is anything left of our marriage and the feelings I have for Aaron…” He twined his hands together as he worked to settle his emotions, “I never even came close to feeling this for Maeve. I know what you’re going to say but I can’t help it Uncle. I can’t help what I feel.”
Rob closed his eyes and shook his head, “Well, ya’ know I’ll be here for ya’ no matter what, okay?”
Spencer gave his Uncle a crooked smile before he got up and hugged him one last time. Going into the small bedroom he laid down, turned the dial on the amulet to 2011 and kept the image of his house firmly in his mind as his hand wrapped tightly around the talisman. He felt that familiar pull in his gut as he was being pulled back across time.
A short time later he was opening his eyes and looking around he saw it was his house. Sitting up he was a little dizzy, he had never done that awake before and it was a feeling he did not like at all.
Getting up he went down stairs to see if Maeve was there. When he got to the basement, he saw her lab was empty. Going back up Spencer looked around and didn’t see her anywhere. Finally, he saw a note on the counter for him. Opening the envelope, he took out the note and read it. Maeve had just told him that she was going to her parent’s house for a while and when he decided to come home and act like an adult, he could call her. Sighing he put the note away. He didn’t want to deal with a pouting Maeve. But then again Spencer did realize he had left with no explanation for four days. He resigned himself to the fact that he may have deserved this one.
At a loss of what to do Spencer looked down at his clothes then got an idea into his head. Getting on his computer he searched for clothing styles of the 60’s and found he rather enjoyed the look of London’s Mod culture more than he did the Skinhead styles. Printing out what he liked Spencer grabbed his messenger bag and went to the front door, grabbed his keys, locked the door behind him then jumped in his car and sped away. He was eager to search for the clothes that would be more appropriate in Aaron’s time. He knew his best bet were the few consignment stores that he knew were close by. He was lucky to find in each of the stores retail associates that were eager to help him out. By the time he was done he had several appropriate outfits and at considerably cheaper prices than if he bought them brand new. All he had to do was have the suits dry cleaned and the shirts thoroughly washed.
He made his way back home and immediately set about washing the fitted button-down shirts that he had just bought. He had a few plain colors but most of what he found were various prints that were popular during that era. He was hanging-up the suits when he heard someone coming into his room.
“Where did you get all these clothes?”
“Oh, I did a little shopping today.”
“Aren’t they a little old-fashioned Spencer?” Spencer frowned deeply as he turned to look at Maeve.
“Well, to be honest if you hadn’t noticed the Mod look of the early 1960’s is quite popular these days. I decided to try something different.” And there it was again a lie slipping easily off his tongue. This time he didn’t even feel bad about it.
“You are seriously going out dressed like that?”
Spencer looked down at his fitted dark tan slacks, brown paisley shirt and black lightweight pea coat.
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
Maeve cocked a brow, laughed low in her throat and walked away from him. Spencer became angry at the attitude that his wife was giving him.
“What the hell was that?” Spencer yelled as he followed Maeve.
“I don’t know Spencer, maybe I’m just wondering what the hell is going on with you? You disappear for four days, then come back and go shopping for clothes that look like my Grandfather wore. What’s next strange all-night café’s listening to beat poetry?”
Spencer hadn’t thought of that. He had enjoyed his night at the little café Aaron had taken him too he wondered if there was anything like that around Virginia.
“Maybe I will. You could come with me, do something different get out of this house, start living again.”
Maeve scrunched her face in confusion and just shook her head, “No, if you want to have your little life crisis go right ahead, I am not going to go there with you.”
“What are you afraid of Maeve? Afraid of leaving the house? Afraid I’ll see the box you’ve kept hidden from me? Afraid I’ll find that you changed your bed to a twin and are sleeping on the Batman sheets from our son’s room? What did you do, bring everything back in so that you don’t have to face the world?” Spencer stood watching as every word he said was like an arrow to the gut. “You don’t leave except to go to work, then you come home and hole up in your lab. You don’t want to go to restaurants, or movies anymore. Forget even going to the bookstore with you. You don’t leave this house.”
“How dare you,” Spencer knew they were words that hurt but he had been tip-toeing around Maeve ever since he had gotten clean, but he wasn’t doing that any longer. He almost hated himself for it but he needed to rip off the scabs in the hope that it helped shake up his wife.
“How dare I what Maeve? Call you out on the very same things you called me out on just a few months ago? So, you get to tell me when I’m retreating and hiding but I don’t get to call you out on it? Well guess what Maeve Katherine Reid, I am calling you out. You need to start letting go, you need to stop living like he’s going to walk in the door because he’s not. He’s gone and nothing you or anyone else says or does is going to change that. I know it’s hard Maeve, god, don’t you think I’ve been grieving too? But you need to face the truth and you need to start living a life again.”
“Get out.” Spencer stood there and watched as anger darkened her features, “Get out now. Get out, get out, get out,” she screamed at him as she pushed against his chest. Closing his eyes and shaking his head he didn’t say anything more to her. Walking into the front room he grabbed his messenger bag and keys and walked right out the door.
Getting into his car he pulled out his phone and did a search for coffee shops or café’s in the area that might have what he was looking for. It took a few minutes, but he found a new café not too far from his house that was having an open mic night. Smiling to himself he decided to check it out.
Arriving a few minutes later Spencer pulled the pea coat around him and entered the café. It was bright, clean and modern but the décor was of beat poets, Mersey Beat bands and other paraphernalia from the era. Shaking his head, he went to the counter and ordered an espresso and found a table. He didn’t have to wait long for his coffee and taking a sip he closed his eyes and thought back to his first date with Aaron.
There were several poets and speakers performing that night, everything from rhyming poems, to freeform, to beat, to rap. Spencer sat there enjoying the good and the bad. When a familiar woman walked on stage Spencer was surprised to see one of his old mentors. When she was done, he looked over to a table that was loudly cheering her on. He recognized David Rossi from his book covers as well as Jason Gideon. Spencer thought a moment and wondered if he should go over there and say something. The woman, Alex Blake, had been someone he had gone to after he had gotten clean. She knew, more than anyone, what it was like to lose a child.
“You should go say hello,” A voice next to him said as a man sat down near to him.
Spencer quirked up a brow as he looked at the man, he felt he should know this person, but he couldn’t quite place him.
“And why should I do that?” Spencer kept his tone light but let his annoyance come through.
“Because it’s only polite, especially since you know Professor Blake.”
“I’m sorry do I know you?” Spencer put his coffee down and turned to look fully at the man. Then it hit him, hard, “Aaron.” Spencer didn’t know whether to cry or smile.
“Hello Spencer.” Aaron smiled softly. Spencer didn’t care who was watching, he leaned in and kissed Aaron on the cheek. “Why are you here? How did you find me?”
“You told me to come. You are actually at a Russian movie marathon.” Spencer took a sip of his coffee and almost choked on it. “Don’t ask, it’s an effect of the time travel. There will be a few years that you have to be careful. Didn’t want to run into yourself. But soon, well hopefully soon, you make a decision that changes everything.”
“Why are you telling me this? Shouldn’t you not interfere? Aren’t you afraid of changing things?”
“No because I know what decision you make. You wanted me to come here tonight to offer support because my Spencer knows you and knows what you’re contemplating.” Aaron sighed as he laced his fingers with Spencer’s. “For a long time this small action had so many terrible consequences.” Spencer looked down at their entwined fingers. “But he wanted me to tell you no matter how hard it seems now; it was all worth it.” Aaron lifted their hands and kissed the back of Spencer’s hand.
“Are you happy?”
The smiled that bloomed on Aaron’s face told him everything that he needed to know.
“Thank you, Aaron.” Spencer stood then bent down and placed a kiss on Aaron’s cheek. Straightening up he walked over to the table Alex was sitting at and let himself be pulled into a hug. He also greeted Jason and was introduced to the rest of the FBI agents. When he looked back towards his table Aaron was gone but something settled in his heart and he knew more than he did earlier in the day what it was he wanted.