DISCLAIMER: I do not own Spencer, Ashley or the South of Nowhere fandom. This story is written strictly for pleasure and I am making no money at all from this. Sadly.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
If you would have told me six months ago that I would be sitting here alone and feeling completely abandoned, I would have laughed at you.
Right in your face.
The same way Aiden laughed at me yesterday in the courtroom.
Aiden Dennison is my husband. Well, he was my husband for the last ten years. We got married right out of high school and we've been together ever since. We went to the same college, and we even got the same degrees. He got the job and I stayed at home to build our life. The same life we have shared for the last ten years.
So, you see, I'm just not quite ready to accept that it's over.
It was about six months ago, right after Christmas when I found out. I was just cleaning up the house after our annual Christmas party when I happened to stumble into the den at just the right moment.
I'd gone in to pull down the last of the mistletoe, only to find that it was still very much in use.
Aiden had his secretary...little miss bleach blonde perfect Lilah...locked in the most passionate kiss I've ever seen.
He never kissed me like that.
Needless to say, after that night, my life and everything in it went straight down the toilet. Aiden told me that he had fallen out of love with me a long time ago and that Lilah was just added bonus.
Oh yeah, he really said that.
So, of course, I was basically thrown out of my own house. I was forced to live off of whatever he was so kind enough to allow me to have. Yeah, I had the degree, but it's not so easy to go out and get a job when you're 28 years old and haven't worked a day in your life.
I lived out of a run down dingy motel on the very bad side of town for nearly four months before I was able to find a job that paid enough for me to afford my own apartment. I worked twelve hours a day just to make ends meet. I barely slept and I ate whenever I could.
It was certainly not the life I was accustomed to.
Aiden is a very successful and powerful attorney. After he got his business degree, he went on to law school and I became the perfect little house-wife.
He graduated top in his class and I won the 'Best Chili Award' at the town carnival.
I was so proud.
Anyway, I got a job at this local diner called Silver's. The owner was an older lady who had a sympathetic ear. I went in one night after a particularly bad day in court with Aiden. I ordered the strongest coffee they had and it wasn't long before we were sharing sad stories over a piece of strawberry cheesecake.
I was working the next day.
After saving up enough, I managed to move out of that hotel and into my own one room apartment. It's not much, but at least it's out of that part of town and it's my own.
Today was the last day in court for us. I am officially divorced.
I know California is a fifty/fifty state, but Aiden had somehow managed to get most of his assets and property off the books before the judge's final decision.
He got the house, the car, and the summer home. Not to mention all our...I mean his money.
I just thank God every day that I never had any children with him. I can live without all those other things, but if he were to take my children...I'm just glad we never had any.
So, yeah. He got everything, and I barely escaped with my dignity.
I'm just glad it's finally over.
Which is the only reason I let Betty talk me into this. Betty Silver is the owner of the diner and pretty much my only friend in the world. Of course, all the other rich snobs that I use to call my friends abandoned me the second that Aiden did.
Somehow, she won a ticket to go on this all expenses paid cruise to Paradise Island.
In all the years we were married, you would think that Aiden would have taken me on at least one vacation, but the closest I've ever gotten was a trip to the Bay, and even then that was just...business.
I tried to tell her no, and that she deserved it more than me, but she wouldn't hear of it. Then I tried to tell her that Paradise Island sounded like a place for lovers, but then she just told me that it sounded like to perfect place to find a new one.
Betty knows that I can't just jump back into it so soon after Aiden. I mean, he's all I've known as a husband, and as a lover for the last ten years.
He's my first, my last, and my only.
Sad. I know, but that's how life goes when you're so in love and so sure you've found the one true person you will grow old with.
Even after everything he's done to me, a part of me still loves him. I mean, he is...was everything to me for the last ten years. I'm just barely standing on my own two feet. I'm so not even thinking about romance. Even though, I really haven't had that for the last two years or so.
The last two years, even before Lilah, we hardly ever made love, and when we did, it was no where near what it use to be. He used to turn me on just by the touch of his hand against my skin...
I don't know what happened, but everything just fell apart.
He told me it was all me. That I had lost interest and I wasn't 'into' it like I use to be. He said it took more than me just lying there...
Come to think of it, I'm starting to not miss him so much anymore.
Well, it's almost time for me to go. The ship is going to be launching soon, and I really don't want to miss it.
I think this is something I really need and who knows? Maybe I'll find that little piece of paradise I've been needing to get me through this.
Even if it is just for a week. Maybe I'll find that inner peace that'll give me the strength to find myself and give me a fresh start on a brand new life.
Yeah. I so owe Betty for this one.
Who knew a cruise could be so much fun?
It's only my first night on, and I'm already having more fun tonight than I've had in my entire life.
The music is loud, the drinks are good, and the guys are hot.
I guess it's too bad most of them are here with their girlfriends or wives.
It turns out that I was right. This is a couples cruise and that pretty much leaves me as the black sheep.
This black sheep is pretty happy enough sitting at the bar drinking up the free drinks and watching everybody else dancing.
"Oh my God! Is that really her?" I hear two girls squeal behind me and I turn on my stool just enough to get a good look at them.
There's one blonde and one brunette huddled close together and staring off into the far back corner of the room. They're giggling and staring and I can't help myself.
I have to look.
I turn all the way around to glance over my left shoulder and that's when I see her.
Ashley Davies. THE Ashley Davies.
As in the very rich, very famous, rock star...ASHLEY DAVIES.
Hey, just because I've spent the last ten years of my life as a housewife doesn't mean I've done it under a rock.
I know who Ashley Davies is.
Daughter of the late rock star Raife Davies. Her career suddenly took off when she wrote and dedicated a song for her father's funeral. A few public appearances and a few talk shows later and she was on her way to super-stardom. She writes her own songs and composes her own music.
She's rich, she's beautiful, and she can sing the hell out of any song.
No wonder she has groupies.
"Are you sure? I mean, it would be so totally embarrassing if we just walked right up to her and it wasn't," the blonde one asks her friend. The other girl just shakes her head and replies, "it's her. It's Ashley fuckin' Davies!"
I glance back over at the woman huddled in the corner booth of the room.
Yep, it's her all right.
"What should we do?" the brunette asks. "Can we just go up and talk to her? I hear she's really cool about meeting her fans. I'm sure she'd give us an autograph and maybe even a picture."
The blonde one laughs. "Oh, I'm sure that's not all she'd give us. Well, at least not me. She likes blondes you know."
What? What is she talking about?
I suddenly turn around in my seat to face them. "What are you talking about? 'She likes blondes?' What does that mean?"
The woman just gives me the strangest look and so does her friend. "Y...eah. O...kay. We'll just be leaving now."
I watch them as they grab their drinks and quickly disappear into the crowd.
Was it something I said?
I turn back around and my eyes once again fall on Ashley. She's the perfect picture of the kind, gracious rock star. She's surrounded by about twenty or so people that are all begging for her attention, which now includes Blondie and her air-headed friend. I can tell she's trying her best to attend to them all, but she's starting to feel a little overwhelmed.
It's strange. I feel bad for her, but I don't even know her.
After a few more moments of watching, something suddenly dawns on me.
Most of the groupies hanging around her are women.
Yeah, there are a few guys, but they're more or less hanging out in the background. It's mostly the women that are right up in her face and they're the ones she seems to be giving the most attention.
I may be nothing more than a homely house-wife, but I'm not stupid.
I always heard the rumors and reports about Ashley Davies and her... sexual preferences. I just chalked it up to her celebrity status. When you're famous, there's always something somebody's trying to say about you.
Until now, I guess I never really believed it. I mean, a woman that beautiful, that talented surely couldn't be...
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm in no way, shape or form...homophobic. Yes, I was raised in a Catholic family and Aiden and I haven't missed a day of church since we've been married, but that doesn't mean I don't respect others' choices.
The world takes all kinds. Besides, if we all loved the same people or lived the same lives, the world would be a pretty boring place.
So, yeah. She's a...lesbian.
When I finally manage to pull myself out of my inner babble, I cast another glance over to the table to see that Ashley had finally managed to disappear. The groupies are just pretty much hanging out around an empty booth.
It must be hard having so many people that all want a piece of you all the time.
But, of course, I wouldn't know.
The only person I had thought would never not want me suddenly decided to change his mind and wreck my whole world.
Yes, this is me, wallowing in my own self-pity.
"So, what's a pretty lady like you doing sittin' here all alone?"
I guess I was so distracted by the wallowing that I didn't notice when he walked up. I look over to my right to see the source of the sudden interruption.
He's actually not bad looking. Frosted dirty blond hair, blue eyes, a gorgeous smile...
So naturally, I smile back. "I don't know. Just...having a few drinks, and trying to enjoy the night."
The guy laughs as he pulls out the stool next to me and takes a seat. "Well, I don't see how it could possibly be that great all by your lonesome, but I have to say that I can't imagine a gorgeous woman such as yourself ever having to spend a night alone."
He's smooth. I'll give him that.
I watch as he sits his drink on the bar and reaches out to extend his hand. "The name's Blake Wilson, and I don't usually start off with such cheesy pick-up lines, but I suddenly find myself feeling very...cheesy." He closes his eyes and sighs as I take his hand to shake. "Sorry."
I find myself laughing out loud for the first time in a while. "Hey, it's okay. I think it's cute."
I notice a sudden look flash through his eyes and his cute, nervous demeanor seems to fade in an instant.
I watch with nervous anticipation as he reaches out to trail a finger down my arm. "So...you wanna get outta here?"
HUH? You have GOT to be kidding me.
Just a second ago, he seemed like a really nice guy. What's with the sudden Mr. Hyde?
"Uh, no thanks," I reply, and pull my arm away. I shift further away from him on the stool and turn back to grab my drink from the bar. His hand suddenly flies up in front of me and he places his palm over the rim of my glass. I stop and look up at him.
"There's no need to play hard to get. I can see it in your eyes. You want me, and I want you. So, why don't we just..."
"Listen," I suddenly interrupt his little rant. "I'm sorry if you're confused, but I don't think I've led you in any way to believe that I...wanted you. I really just want to sit here and enjoy my drink. So..."
Blake suddenly jerks his hand away and lets out a sigh of disgust. "You women are all the same. You sit there with your low cut shirts and your pouty little lips giving us all the right signals, and when we finally catch on you just...blow us off."
I look over to see him practically seething with anger. I jump when he suddenly reaches out and roughly grabs me by the arm. "Fucking tease. That's all you are."
I'm just about to open my mouth to protest when the sudden sound of footsteps come to a halt on my other side.
"Hey! Sleeze!" I hear the words punctuated by a sudden slamming of a glass onto the bar next to me. "You've got about two seconds to get your hands off my girl before I seriously lose my temper."
Blake and I both look up to see Ashley Davies staring him down. Her jaw is set and her eyes are steely as they pin him to the spot with an unwavering gaze.
Blake's hand suddenly releases my arm like it was on fire. He smiles nervously and nearly falls off the stool. "I...I'm s-sorry. I didn't...I didn't realize she was your...your girlfriend."
Ashley steps into me and wraps her arm around my waist, pulling my body into her own. "Yeah, well...now ya do, and I think you also owe her an apology."
I'm so caught up in the moment and the strange feel of Ashley's body pressed against mine that I'm barely able to register the words.
"I'm so...so sorry. I didn't mean to...o-offend you. I'll just be..." He grabs his drink and quickly disappears into the crowd.
"Are you okay?" I hear the husky words right next to my ear and an involuntary shiver shoots down my spine. The warmth of the arm around my waist slowly retreats and I finally manage to look up into the deepest brown eyes I've ever seen.
Ashley smiles and leans against the bar. "No problem. I hope I didn't make you uncomfortable or anything. I don't always think before I act when I see such a...beautiful woman in trouble."
I don't know why, but I feel the heat of a sudden blush spread across my face.
Funny...that didn't happen when Blake said the same thing to me just a few minutes ago...
"No. You didn't," I finally manage to answer. "It was so weird. One minute, we were talking really nice and the next..."
"He went all macho caveman on you?" Ashley finishes with a light laugh. "Yeah, believe me...been there and so done that."
"Uh, yeah, actually," I laugh in return and watch as Ashley raises her glass to her lips before downing the whole thing in one gulp. She places the empty glass back on the bar and looks over at me.
"I'm just glad they're not the only choice."
With that one sentence, any doubt in my mind about Ashley's preferences is gone.
And now the new question becomes...is Ashley Davies hitting on me?
She must have noticed the sudden panicked look on my face because she laughs and leans across the bar to order another drink before turning back to face me.
"Relax. I'm not trying to pick you up or anything. I really just wanted to have one quiet night by myself away from...everything." She reaches over and picks up the fresh glass of brown liquid. "Guess it was too much to ask for, huh?" She downs the whole glass in one gulp again before placing it back on the bar.
"Well, sorry again if I made you uncomfortable. I just can't stand to see a woman treated like that." Her eyes get a far off look for just the tiniest moment before she smiles and turns to leave. "Enjoy what's left of your night."
I don't know why, but I'm suddenly overwhelmed with panic that I'll never see her again.
Ashley stops and turns to face me with a slighlty raised brow.
I swallow back and smile nervously. "Um..I-I...I don't even know your name."
That's the best you could do?
A slow smile spreads over Ashley's lips as she turns and makes her way back to my side. She nods over to the bartender and then takes a seat on the stool next to mine. She eyes me carefully with a teasing smile.
"Something tells me that you do. I mean, not to sound all conceited or anything...but it's not like my face isn't plastered on every billboard, street corner and shop window."
I blush again, because I know she's got me there.
"Okay, so I do know your name," I admit with a nervous smile. "But...you don't know mine, and really, it's the least I could do to buy you a drink after you saved me from my Knight in Shining Sleeze."
Ashley smiled as another drink was placed in front of her and then she turned that smile on me. "Well, the drink part's really not necessary, but I think I will take you up on the whole name thing."
Right. So...that would be your clue to actually say it.
Uhhh...what's my name again?
I look up to see Ashley giving me an amused, yet patient smile.
"Spencer! That's it. It's Spencer. Spencer D...uh, Carlin."
Ashley laughs and extends her hand. "Nice to meet you Spencer D'uh Carlin."
God, at this rate, I'm gonna blush myself into a coma.
After a moment of her smiling and my blushing, she finally releases my hand and turns back to her drink.
"So...are you really here on a couple's cruise to Paradise Island all by your little lonesome?"
I look up to meet her smile and deep expressive eyes. I'm suddenly realizing why people are so drawn to her. It's not just because she's famous, but she just seems to have this...thing.
"Umm...yeah. I am," I manage to finally form as some sort of answer. "I actually just got through this really awful divorce and I just needed something to take my mind off how incredibly sucky my life had become."
I see her face fall just a little at the word divorce, but she manages to quickly recover with a sympathetic smile. "Yeah, those can be really tough. I'm sorry to hear that."
I can't help but smile at the sound of sincerity in her words. "Oh, it's okay. It's over now and that's all that matters. I managed to keep most of my sanity and enough of my dignity, so...it's really not that bad."
I see Ashley's smile widen. "Well, good. I'm glad. Whoever he is, he's not worth the rest of your life. No one is."
I notice the sudden drop in her voice and the faltering in her smile.
We're both quiet for a long moment before I finally find the courage to ask, "You wanna talk about it?"
Ashley looks up at me sharply and with just the lightest hint of surprise. "Oh, please tell me you're not a therapist or psychologist...or any of those other words they have for those overpaid and under-worked psycho analysts?"
"What?" I ask in surprise. "Oh, no. No. I'm...nobody."
Ashley's head shifts just slightly and she gives me the deepest look I've ever recieved. "I definitely don't think you're a nobody. In fact, you're a very important somebody." She places her glass down and leans towards me just slightly. "Any self-respecting woman who stands on her own two feet and holds her head up high is definitely a somebody in my book."
It's official. I've just broken the world record for the number of blushes in a single conversation.
Which...begs to ask the question why I've been able to hold the same conversation with Ashley Davies for the last ten minutes. I mean, I'm sure she has some other more important things she'd rather be doing than sitting her talking with me while I...
"You okay there D'uh Carlin?"
I suddenly snap out of it and turn to look at her with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, I do that a lot. I'm a serial spacer."
"No, it's cool. I'm so use to having everyone hang on my every word." She pauses and smiles. "It's kinda cool that you're not afraid to just be yourself around me. I've really missed that."
"Uh...thanks. I think."
We both laugh and I find myself suddenly and once again pulled into another of her dark and intense gazes.
"You wanna dance?"
I find myself a little surprised at the request. I don't know if it was the sudden outburst or just the plain fact that I wasn't expecting it.
"Uh, I'm really not much of a...of a dancer."
Ashley sets her glass onto the bar and stands up with a smile. "That's okay. Not many people in here are. That's the great thing about dance music." Without asking, she reaches out and takes my hand before gently pulling me from my seat. "All you really gotta do is just move your body one way or another. You'll pull off the perfect illusion that you actually know what you're doing."
I let her lead me out into the middle of the dance floor and I suddenly find myself thrown into a mix of dancing bodies and a pulsing beat.
I just stand here feeling lost and completely out of place.
But the sudden gentle sensation of Ashley's hands on my hips and her gaze locked in on mine gives my body a sudden jolt of energy. She gazes deep into my eyes as she leans close to be heard over the music.
"Just feel the beat and let your body go," she whispers to only me.
It's not long before I feel myself give in and let the music and the feel of Ashley's hands still on my hips take me over.
It seems that just as I'm getting into it, the song suddenly fades out to be replaced by a much slower and more mellow beat. I look around anxiously as all the couples start to pair off and dance slowly to the rhythm.
"You want another drink or...you wanna keep dancing?"
I can hear the hesitation and fear in her voice, but the smile never wavers from Ashley's face, but it only takes me a moment to make a decision.
I give her my best smile and step into her. "I think we've both had enough drinks for one night."
I can't help but laugh at her suddenly shocked expression. I don't know why, but I find my arms snaking around her neck and then my body leaning me in just that much closer to hers...
I can barely control the sudden intake of breath when I feel her hands slide around my waist and her fingers interlock behind my back.
We just stay locked in the moment, lost in each other's eyes as we sway to the music.
"Spencer," Ashley says, finally deciding to break the silence. "I don't really know what this is, and I'm usually the last one to question a good thing...but, if you're looking for that science experiment or just that one fling to get you over your husband or to get back at your husband for that matter...I'm really sorry, but I'm not..."
"Ashley?" I interrupt in the softest voice I can manage. "I'm not looking for anything other than a night of dancing and maybe a sympathetic ear. Nothing more and nothing less."
Ashley slowly smiles. "Right. Of course. I knew that."
I can't help but smile too. "Did anybody ever tell you how cute you are when you're all embarrassed?"
"Hey," Ashley laughs. "I'm not cute and I'm not embarrassed."
"I'm not," she protests again with another laugh.
I just not my head and smile. "Of course you're not. I mean, you're Ashley Davies, Rock Star extraordinaire. You don't get embarrassed."
Ashley just shook her head, still smiling. "You're impossible."
The smile slowly fades from my face and I'm suddenly very worried about her answer to my next question. "Is that a good impossible...or a bad impossible?"
She obviously notices my change in mood because I see the look on her face grow serious as well. After a tense moment, she answers in a husky whisper, "definitely good."
I don't know why or...how it happens, but I find myself completely lost in Ashley's eyes. My body is pulling me closer to hers and my eyes are slipping closed as my rapidly fading vision watches as her lips come closer and closer to mine.
It's just a second before our lips meet when I'm suddenly jolted from my feet and nearly out of Ashley's arms.
It takes a moment before we both regain our footing. "What was...that?"
Before she has a chance to answer another jolt sends us both toppling to the ground. At the last possible moment, Ashley manages to switch our positions so that she lands on the bottom and I fall in a heap on top of her.
I struggle to pull myself up from her body. "Sorry! I'm so...sorry!"
"Oh, that 'oompf' wasn't for you," she quickly corrects. She turns to glance at the floor underneath her. "I think I landed on somebody's..."
The third jolt is much more forceful than the first two. The ship suddenly tips to one side and a room full of people start to scream as the lights go out and the sound of breaking wood envelops the room.
I feel myself start to slide when the ship tilts. The last sensation I feel is a strong arm around my waist and a warm body pressed tightly against my back.
I watch helplessly and in total fear as the side of the tilted ship rushes towards me and then the sharp pain shoots from the back of my head down my spine.
Then all I see is darkness.
Why do I feel like I just went through hell and back?
My head aches, my arms are sore, my back is burning and my legs are covered in...sand?
My eyes protest the movement, but I'd really like to see where I am. I'm also suddenly aware of the heat baring down on my face like a blazing fire.
I don't remember going up on deck, and I could have sworn it was still night time...
I'm finally able to force my eyes open and I instantly have to squint against the sun. I raise my hand to try and sheild my face and that's when I see it.
My hand and most of my arm is covered in the sticky red liquid, but from the looks of it, it's already had time to dry.
Oh God. This can not be good.
I don't know where I find the strength, but somehow I manage to pull myself up into a sitting position. I groan as I feel my muscles and every bone in my body scream out in protest against the sudden forced movement.
Looking down at my blood covered arm, I fear for the worst.
But...after a long moment, I suddenly realized that there isn't a scratch on it anywhere, and that can only mean one thing...
It's not my blood.
That's when my eyes fall to the motionless body laying next to me. Her hair is still damp and matted against her face. Her silk shirt is torn on her right side and it's covered in sticky red sand...
"Ashley!" I call out to her and place my hand gently on her leg to try and shake her. "Ashley! Can you hear me?"
"What?" I hear in a husky breath, and I can't help but think it's the sweetest sound I've ever heard. "Geez, you don't gotta scream. I'm up."
Ashley tries to turn over to face me and she suddenly realizes the mistake when she lets out a loud groan. "Oww! What the hell...?"
She tries to sit up, but the pain must be too much because I see her whole body tenses up as she falls back against the sand.
"Don't try to move," I say, doing my best to remain calm. I pull myself up into a kneeling position so I can get a better view of her side. "Just lay still. I'm gonna try to..."
I pull the material away from her skin and flinch when it sticks to her flesh.
"Sorry," I whisper and she just lets out another groan.
I feel my heart sink at the image I find underneath.
"Oh God, Ash..."
She pushes some of the hair back away from her face and adjusts her body against the sand.
"H...How bad is it?" I hear her husky whisper.
I reach down to press my finger against the wound to try and see how far down it goes...
I jerk my hand back quickly.
Okay. So it's pretty bad.
"We need to get it cleaned up," I say in afterthought. "I need to see how far down it goes and how deep it is. You think you can walk?"
Ashley groans as she rolls onto her left side to try and sit up. "Right now I'm just hopin' for the ability to stand without the sudden urge to vomit. If I can get that far, then we'll talk about the walking."
I reach behind her to grab her by the shoulders to help her stand. I feel her body shaking in my grasp as we somehow manage to get her onto her feet. I can tell she's having trouble remaining upright, so I step up into her back and allow her to lean her weight on me.
Somehow we manage to stumble our way to the shore line before she collapses down into the water.
She looks up at me and smiles through another shiver. "Piece a cake."
I can't help but smile as I reach down to cup some of the water in my hand and bring it up to her wound. "I never doubted you for a second."
I hear her laugh as she leans back into the water. "You can't imagine how much that means to me. Now, if you don't mind...I think I'll just die...for a minute."
I just shake my head and smile as I finally manage to wash away all the blood and dirt from her wound.
It's worse than I thought.
The cut is pretty deep and jagged. It's about two inches long and stretches from the back of her ribcage to the front.
I can see the jagged tip of the glass sticking out from the wound.
Well, that explains how she got it. She must have reversed our positions so that she would take the brunt of the impact when we slammed into the side of the ship.
"What the hell did you do that for?!" I scream as I suddenly reach out and poke her on the uninjured side of her stomach.
"Oww!" she yelps in pain and shifts in the water. She gives me an innocent look. "Why did I do what?"
"This!" I yell again and poke her in the side.
"Oww! Would you stop poking me!"
Dammit! She makes me so mad. How could she do something so stupid? If she just would've -
"What about you? Are you okay?"
Are you kidding me?
"You're the one sitting...well, laying here bleeding to death and you're asking me if I'm okay?"
Ashley pushes herself up into a sitting postion and cringes when it applies to much pressure to her side. "I'm not bleeding to death," she grumbles then looks up into my eyes. "You are seriously wound way too tight. Did anyone ever tell you that?"
I am not. I so am...NOT!
"Y'know, a person in your position is in...no position to piss somebody off in my position which just so happens to be the only position that can help your position right...now."
Yeah. That wasn't pathetic at all.
Ashley smirks at me and shakes her head. "Well, while your busy with all that, I'd really like to get out of the nearly freezing water now." She starts to push herself up, but I can see the painful grimace flash across her face.
"Here, let me help you," I whisper and place my hands under her arms to help her up.
We've almost managed to get her into a standing position when I suddenly feel my foot slip in some of the wet sand and we go toppling back into the water.
Ashley was right. This water is frikken' freezing, but despite the sudden shock from the cold, we both can't help but laugh. I glance up into her eyes as my arms seem to remain wrapped around her upper body.
Ashley chuckles low in her throat and just stares up into my eyes with the softest of smiles.
"Your eyes are so blue," she says suddenly, and I have to admit, I'm caught completely off guard. "I feel like I could just drown in them."
Romeo meet Ashley Davies. I'd take a few notes if I were you.
I know I'm blushing again. "Umm...thanks." I look back into her eyes and swallow to try and soothe my suddenly very dry throat. Ashley just keeps staring back at me, holding my gaze with those deep...brown...eyes...
I watch helplessly frozen as her lips inch closer to mine. I close my eyes and...
"Hey! There they are!"
Are you friggin' kidding me?!
Ashley and I both look over at the sound of the voice. There's about five or six people running down the beach towards us. I guess we aren't the only survivors.
One of the guys falls down to his knees next to us. "Are you okay? We've been searching all morning and you're the first ones we've found alive." He gets this far off look in his eyes and then shakes his head. "Come on. We found some supplies that washed up on shore, and she should let the Doc get a look at that," he adds, nodding to Ashley's side.
Wait...there's a doctor? What're the odds of that?
He helps me pulls Ashley to her feet before draping one of her arms around his shoulder. "There's some blankets and stuff too. We got it all together further up the beach. Blake's supposed to be making a fire so you girls can get warmed up there."
Oh great. Blake's alive.
Okay, okay. I din't mean it like that.
I can't believe we crashed onto a deserted island. I feel like I'm suddenly in a very bad TV show where any minute this shirtless guy is just gonna come running down the beach, all sweaty and covered in cuts and sand...
"Oh my God!" the guy suddenly screams causing both me and Ashley to nearly jump out of our skin. I look over at him to see him staring down at Ashley.
"You're...but...you...then...you're Ashley Davies! I mean the Ashley Davies." He smiles really big and jumps back away from her. Ashley's arm slips from his shoulder and it takes all my strength to catch her before she falls.
I watch as his eyes rake over her body. "Man, you're hot."
Ashley and I both groan as I pull her more tightly against my body and start off in the direction towards the others leaving the guy to stand in his own puddle of drool.
"Hey, wait!" I hear him call out to our backs. "Was it something I said?"
Y'know, this whole 'lesbian' thing...is really starting to look better and better.
It was ten minutes later before we finally reached the camp the others had set up on the beach. Just as the guy said, they had found some blankets and stuff that had miraculously washed up on shore from the wreck. The doctor turned out to be the ship doctor that apparently every ship is required to have now.
I guess it's Ashley's lucky day.
Through much swearing and other varied threats, the doctor had managed to pull the glass from Ashley's side and stitch her up the best he could with what he found in the standard first aid kits that the others had managed to salvage.
Blake had somehow managed to build a sufficient fire which he used to dry out some of the blankets. He laid them out in a makeshift bed beside the fire, which is where Ashley is currently resting.
Of course, there are a few of the girls that have insisted on hanging around her just in case she needs anything. Not to mention Mr. Bone-head from earlier.
I think Blake's pretty much taken the hint because he's on the complete opposite end of the camp while Bone-head seems to think that dogged persistence is key.
I look up from my seat in the sand to see Ashley nodding and smiling as best she can to whatever Blondie keeps saying.
Riiiight. I knew I recognized her from somewhere. She's the girl from the party last night. The one who wanted to shamelessly throw herself at Ashley.
Y'know...it's just my luck that the one and only cruise I've ever been on in my life gets shipwrecked on the first night and everyone that has managed to piss me off in some way or another survives and gets thrown together with me on a deserted island where there is no possible chance of escape for either of us and that just leads me to believe that my life is pretty much going to SUCK until I die and then, well...I'll just be dead.
I just really had to get that off my chest.
Which leads me to wonder why it's bothering me so much that all these people are hanging onto Ashley's every word just hoping for the chance that she'll notice them...
"Hey, you're Spencer...right?"
I look up and squint against the sun as I try to decipher the blurred image of a face.
The body bends down to take a seat next to me and I'm finally able to recognize the face as Bone-head.
Huh. Guess he must've finally taken the hint.
"I'm Jake. We met earlier," he says with a cocky grin as he adjusts his legs in the sand.
This is all most too good.
"How could I forget?" I smile back sweetly before casting a glance back over to Ashley.
She's lying back on the sand with her head propped up against a log with some blankets between. She's trying to listen to whatever Blondie's talking about now, but I can see her head swaying with the effort to stay awake.
Dr. James must've given her some sorta pain meds when I wasn't around. I guess he musta been pretty close to his bag whenever the ship sank. I think I remember him saying something about it...
"So, Blake said something about you being Ashley's girlfriend?"
I turn my head back around to face Bone-head. I'm pretty sure he can read the look on my face.
Is this guy for real?
He laughs nervously. "I just wanted to make sure he wasn't trying to keep her all for himself." He turns his gaze back across the camp to Ashley. "She's just too hot, and of course, being famous and no doubt filthy fuckin' rich doesn't hurt either."
Okay. Bone-head has got to go.
I got to think of something fast, because if he doesn't get away from me in the next .2 seconds, I can not be held responsible for what I might do.
"Sorry, but the rumors are true."
His head whips back around to face me.
Now, why did I say that again?
"You shittin' me, right?" he laughs as he shifts back away from me.
I just smile and shake my head. "'Tis sad, but true. Well, sad for you. Not for me. Cause hello...hot ass rich and famous girlfriend," I finish with a laugh as I point to myself.
Oh God. Oh God. Oh...God.
Jake gets the strangest look on his face. He's quiet for a long moment before glancing from me to Ashley and then back to me again. "That's uh...huh."
And then he gets up and walks away.
I watch him as he walks further and further down the beach until he comes up behind Blake and then takes a seat next to him. Their backs are turned to me, but I can tell that they're just sitting there and staring out into the ocean.
Not that I blame them.
They've both just realized that their chances with Ashley Davies are worse than a snowball's in hell.
I can't believe I said that. I don't even know why I said that. I mean, it's not up to me to protect Ashley from the many and various suitors, be it male or female. I mean, she's nothing to me. Well, nothing more than a friend.
Who I apparently owe my life to now.
I look up sharply at my name to see Dr. James standing over me with a soft smile. "Ms. Davies is asking for you."
I smile back at him and nod. "Thank you Dr. James, and please, call me Spencer." I stand up and brush the sand off the back of my jeans with my hand. "Tell her I'll be there in just a sec."
"Call me Mark," he smiles and nods politely before making his way back over to Ashley.
My palms are sweating and my heart is threatening to beat out of my chest as I take in a few breaths to try and calm my nerves.
I haven't felt this way since Aiden asked me out on our first date nearly fifteen years ago.
I guess a part of me is afraid what Ashley will say when she finds out that half of our little survivor group now thinks that we're together.
And the other part of me is afraid of what Ashley will say when she finds out that half of our little survivor group now thinks that we're together.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not stupid.
I know that we've come close to kissing twice now, and if it wasn't for mother nature and stupidity's impeccable timing, we would have no doubt been a lot more...acquainted by now.
And then of course, I have to ask the question...
Do I wanted to be more...acquainted with her?
Before I have the chance to even begin to answer that question, I arrive at Ashley's side and she looks up at me through a sleepy gaze. Her smile is soft and her eyes are an even deeper brown than I remember.
"Hey," she whsipers huskily. "I was wondering where you ran off to."
I smile back and ease myself down to sit next to her. "There was no running. I just wanted to give the doc some room so he could fix you up right." I glance down at the outline of a puffy bandage beneath her grimy and blood-stained white tank top. My brow furrows and my heart sinks in my chest.
"Hey," Ashley whispers again. I look up at her to see her shake her head just slightly. "He did fix me up just right. Seven stitches and some iodine and I'm as good as new." She reaches up and pats her side gently. "Alls I gotta do is keep the bandage dry and clean and the doc says I'll be healed up in no time."
I bite my lip as I stare down at her side. If it wasn't for me, she wouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place.
"Spence, look at me."
I look up at the shortened version of my name to meet her soft eyes.
Not even Aiden ever called me that.
"This is not your fault, okay?" she says softly as she places a hand on my knee. "Shit happens, and I was just in the right place at the right time."
"What?" I ask shaking my head.
Ashley smiles at me and raises herself up into a more fully sitting position. "If there's one thing that I've learned in my life, Spencer, it's that if it's meant to be...then it's just meant to be." She stops to laugh to herself. "I wasn't even gonna go on that stupid cruise, but my long time best friend and might I add...so fired manager convinced me it was just what I needed to get over my broken heart."
Ashley gets the far off look in her eyes before she shakes her head again with a tiny smile. "So, you see, we were meant to meet last night, that ship was meant to wreck, and we were meant to be here today. Just like this."
Well, when you put it like that...
"But...why now? Why like this?" I ask, still not convinced.
Ashley just smiles as she reaches down to place her hand on mine that is resting on the blanket between us. "Even I know that some things in life...you just don't question. When something this good falls in my lap...I don't really tend to ask why."
Ashley talk good. Make Spencer's heart go thump, thump.
I'm pulled out of my momentary lack of all brain function by another husky chuckle. My hand suddenly feels cold as Ashley pulls her hand back into her own lap before her eyes turn to stare out into the ocean.
"Where are we anyway? I don't remember this island being on the map."
"I mean, yeah," I say, shaking my head to try and clear it of the haze. "It must be one of those that scientists haven't discovered yet or...something."
Okay. Even I know that was lame.
"Yeah," Ashley smiles as she continues to stare out into the ocean. "Must be."
Aaaannd...cue the moment of tense and awkward silence.
"Man," Ashley finally laughs as she turns back to face me. "Whatever it was that Doc gave me must've packed one helluva punch. Right now, I don't even know I have a ribcage." She laughs again and I can see her starting to drift off.
"Well," I smile and start to stand up. "I should probably let you get some rest. I wanna go see what the others are gonna do about...everything anyway."
I freeze at the softly spoken protest. I look down to see Ashley's hand resting on my arm, and then I look up into those impossibly soft brown eyes.
"Would you just...lay here with me?" she asks softly. "Just for a while?"
This is the moment when I suddenly realize that I could so easy fall for this woman.
That realization just raises too many questions that I don't even wanna think about right now.
No, right now...I think I'll just lay here. With her.
"Sure," I finally answer in a soft whisper with just as soft a smile.
Ashley smiles back at me as she lifts up the blanket and scoots over so I can slide in next to her.
My heart is pounding in my chest, but I don't care. The warmth of her body next to mine creates a deep stirring within me that is more than enough to outweigh any of my fears or doubts.
I'm careful not to apply too much pressure to her side as I lay back and place my head on her shoulder. I feel her arm wrap around me and I can swear I hear her let out the softest of sighs as she pulls me against her.
I feel her turn her face towards my hair as my eyes start to slip closed. I guees I'm a lot more tired than I realized.
As my mind drifts off into oblivion I could all most swear I hear that husky soft whisper in my ear...
"Sweet dreams, beautiful."
I'm suddenly awakened by the sound of laughter.
My head feels a little hazy and my eyes are reluctant to open. The sound of the laughter erupts again and it seems to clear some of the fog from my sleep-ridden mind.
I finally manage to pry my eyes open to see that the sky is now shrouded in darkness.
I slept all day?
I guess that shipwreck took more out of me than I thought. Which is funny considering I still have no freakin' clue what happened.
The laughter gets louder this time, another voice joining in.
I lift my head up from the blanket to peer across the beach.
It seems as thought the rest of the group had managed to set up camp and build a fire pit while I was sleeping. They drug in a few more logs and set them up around it in make-shift benches. Just off behind the fire pit, I can see where they attempted to make tents out of leaves and tree limbs, but I'm not too sure how sturdy they are.
I feel like I just stepped into a really bad rip off of Gilligan's Island.
Now all we need is a bumbling idiot who can't seem to...
"Blake! The fire!" I hear three voices scream out all at once.
I jerk my head up so quickly, I feel my neck pop. My eyes adjust in the darkness as I stare at the flames of the fire.
The sound of my own laughter breaks through my sleepy haze.
Apparently, Blake was trying to carry an armful of wood and talk to Blondie at the same time, no doubt trying to run his game on her when he just stepped right into the pit of fire...and kept on walking.
One bumbling idiot coming right up.
Jake and two other guys that I don't recognize managed to stop him just before he did a head dive right into the fire.
I'm not even gonna touch that one.
"Poor guy," I hear a familiar voice chuckle behind me. "I bet he's never even had the tiniest bit of sex."
I sit up and turn around to look over at the woman standing up behind me. I smile.
"Ashley, you're walking!" I say, not even trying to hide the excitement in my voice.
Ashley laughs that deep, husky laugh. "Only for the last 29 years."
I shake my head and just keep smiling.
Ashley laughs again and moves to gingerly sit down on the log behind me. "I just couldn't lay around anymore. My legs were getting all numb and my back was really starting to ache."
What? Did I drool or something?
"It wasn't you," she corrects quickly, all most as if she could read my mind. She silently looks at me for a short moment. "Actually, that was the best rest I've had in a really long time. I didn't realize how much I missed the warmth of another body next to mine."
I guess she really did read my mind. Only, not just then, but y'know...before when I was thinking that. Right before I fell asleep beside her.
"Yeah," I whisper with a smile. "I know the feeling."
Her eyes lock with mind and I once again find myself locked in that trance with her. Her eyes are so deep and I'm so lost that I just completely forget the world around me.
It scares the hell out of me, and sends my heart pounding in my ears at the same time.
"Ya hungry?" Ashley suddenly asks.
It takes a moment for the words to register in my brain. "Uh, yeah. I am," I finally manage to answer.
Ashley smiles and slowly stands up before extending her hand down to me. "I think the others caught some fish or shot a deer or something. Why don't we go check it out?"
I laugh as I take her hand and allow her to help me to my feet. "A deer? I've never heard of deer existing on a tropical island out in the middle of nowhere. Besides, what exactly would they have shot this imaginary deer with?"
Ashley smiles and shrugs as she pulls me off towards the others. "Maybe they just snuck up on it and then Blake held it down while Tori talked it to death."
So, I guess Blondie does have a name after all.
"I don't really like fish," I admit out loud as we make our way over. "I've never liked the way their beady little eyes stared up at me. They always looked so pitiful lying there on those meat trays."
Ashley laughs at me and shakes her head. "Well, I can pretty much guarantee that they won't be looking up at you from any meat trays. Seems we were all fresh out."
"And they smell really bad too," I add in afterthought.
Ashley just laughs louder as we finally make it to the pit. "God, what am I going to do with you?"
I could think of a few things.
All laughing and general noise ceases in an instant and I suddenly find six pairs of eyes glued onto me.
"Uh, did I just say that out loud?" I ask, grinning with a deep blush.
Everyone laughs at my obvious moment of sheer humiliation.
"Don't sweat it, Blondie," one of the guys I don't know laughs. "If I had a girl as hot as yours here, I'd be thinking the same thing. Every fuckin' second of every fuckin' day."
I'm suddenly reminded of my tiny little white lie about me and Ashley.
I look over at her in a panic, but I'm shocked to see that she's laughing right along with the rest of them.
"You got it all wrong, Deke," Ashley chuckles. She shifts her eyes back to mine and her teasing smile turns soft in an instant. "I'm the one that can't stop thinking about her."
Okay. I must have died in that shipwreck because there's no way this is real.
There's no way she's real.
I mean, nobody is that beautiful, that smart, that funny, that humble, that talented, that sweet, that romantic, that...perfect.
"You ready to eat, baby?"
"Huh?" I answer a little faster than I wanted.
Ashley just nods towards the food. "I'm gonna grab a plate. We can just share."
I watch dumbfounded as she walks over to the others and starts up an idle conversation as she grabs some of the food.
I guess one of the others must have said something that clued her into my little...miscommunication about our relationship.
I guess she must have decided to just play along.
I'm really not sure if that's a good or a bad thing right now.
God, this is all happening so fast. I'm not even sure what it is, but I know there's definitely something there.
I've only been with one person in my whole life. A man no less.
I don't have the first clue how to have a relationship with another woman.
Physical or otherwise.
I must have been lost in thought for a while because Ashley has suddenly reappeared by my side with a steaming make-shift plate of food. My stomach grumbles at the sight.
"I didn't know what you liked," Ashley explains as she slowly sits down on the log by our feet. I can see the grimaces flash across her face. She finally manages and looks back up at me with that soft smile. "So I just got some of everything. I hope it's okay."
"Uh, yeah," I finally nod and take a seat next to her. "Sounds great."
Ashley's smile widens as she places the plate between us and reaches down to pick up a piece of the fish. "See? No beady eyes and no meat trays in sight," she grins as she holds up the fish towards me. "I'm a woman of my word."
For some reason, I don't doubt that at all.
I just smile as my eyes drop down to the plate. My stomach grumbles again.
Before I have the chance to grab a piece of the fish for myself, I suddenly find a chunk of it waiting at my lips. My eyes jerk up to meet Ashley's outstretched hand and smiling face.
"Try it," she encourages softly. "It tastes better than it looks. Promise."
Oh. I guess she saw the far away look on my face and mistook it for disgust.
I open my mouth and she gently slips the fish inside. The back of her finger brushes my bottom lip when she pulls her hand away.
Our eyes lock and I once again feel that twisting feeling in the very depths of my belly.
Ashley is the first to break the moment when she smiles softly and drops her eyes down to the plate resting on the log between us. She's quiet for a long moment.
"So..imagine my surprise when I woke up tonight and went looking for some water only to stumble across a group of guys talking about how hot it was to be stranded on a deserted island with...how did they put it?" she pauses, as if trying to remember. "Oh, right...'the hottest lesbian couple ever'."
Ashley lifts her eyes to meet mine, that teasing grin back in place. "Care to explain that one?"
I can feel the blush rise up from my neck and go straight to my hairline.
"Umm...w-well, you see...I was...and then he...but I..."
"Spencer, relax," Ashley breaks in, finally deciding to to put me out of my misery. "It's fine, really. Luckily, I catch on pretty quick, and y'know...thanks."
Okay, now I'm confused. "For what?"
"For trying to give me that little bit of peace that I so desperately need right now," Ashley answers instantly. "I know you just said that to try and keep 'em off my back. I really appreciate that."
I know I'm blushing again. I really need to get that checked out.
"But, y'know...I don't expect you to keep going along with it," Ashley adds after a moment. "I mean, I don't want to make you uncomfortable and you don't even know me, so it's not like you owe it to me or anything."
"Are you serious?" I finally break in.
A surprised look springs up on Ashley's face.
"I owe you my life," I continue with a disbelieving smile. "Not to mention I was really just returning the favor. If you hadn't shown up when you did...there's no telling what that sleeze ball would've tried next."
Ashley laughs softly. "Yeah. He was pretty pathetic."
"Oh, he pretty much wins the Oscar for that one."
Ashley's brow furrows. "Do they really give an Oscar for 'Most Pathetic and Same Old Tired Game-Runner In A Single Performance'?"
"Uh, I don't think they've quite come up with that one yet," I answer with a laugh.
Ashley just shrugs and reaches down for another piece of fish. "Might actually make me wanna watch it for once."
"Yeah," I laugh. "I guess the Grammy's are really more up your alley. Y'know, seein' as how you get a front row seat every year."
Ashley looks up at me through a mouth full of food. "Not every year," she protests between swallows. "There was that one year that I...had to sit in the second row..." she finishes weakly.
"Well, as long as they keep you close enough to the stage so that you don't get tired from having to walk so far every night. I remember that one year you won four..."
"You saw that?" Ashley asks suddenly.
I reach down to pick up some of the fish and smile. "Of course. I watch you..." Oh God..."I mean, the show every year."
I avert my eyes and pray that she didn't catch my slip-up.
"I remember that year," Ashley laughs. "Madonna was so jealous, she wouldn't even talk to me at the after party."
"You know...Madonna?" I ask slowly.
Ashley looks over at me with a grin. "Of course. We go way back. Well, not as far as me and Steven. God, we got so drunk that year that he..."
"S-Steven?" I interrupt. "As in...Steven Tyler? As in Aerosmith's Steven Tyler?"
Ashley just looks at me before slowly replying, "Yeah...that's the one." She just continues to look at me like I grew a second head or something.
Oh, right. I all most forgot.
Ashley Davies is a huge rockstar with many huge rockstar friends.
I guess she's just been so...not what I thought a big rockstar like her was like that it just slipped my mind how much of a star she really is.
"Right," I smile. "Huge rockstar. Got it." I avert my eyes with yet again another blush.
At this rate, I won't need to worry about my tan.
"That's just one of the things I like so much about you," Ashley says in a soft whisper. I lift my eyes back to meet hers at the soft admission. She smiles that heart-melting smile. "You don't treat me like some big rockstar who's ass you've got to kiss constantly. You don't hang on my every word and you don't agree with everything I say. You don't laugh at my jokes when they're not even funny and you don't go out of your way to make me like you."
Ashley goes quiet as she gazes so deeply into my eyes, it causes my chest to tighten with a breath I didn't realize I was holding. "You treat me like a real person, and that means more to me than you'll ever know."
For the first time in my life, I'm speechless.
I just stare back into her eyes and hope that's enough.
"So, you still wanna be my girl?"
Hello curve ball.
Ashley chuckles deep in her throat. "Gee, Spence, try not to sound so ecstatic about it."
I shake my head. "Wait, no. I didn't mean it to sound like that. I mean...if you don't mind, then I don't mind. I mean, i-if you really want, then it's not a problem for me...to p-pretend to be your...girl...friend."
Thank God that's over.
Ashley shrugs. "Whatever you want. I mean, if the idea doesn't completely freak you out..."
"Hey," I break in softly. "The idea totally does not freak me out. I may have spent the last ten years of my life as nothing more than a house-wife, but somewhere along the way I managed to learn that love knows no bounds. It's a beautiful treasure that's sacred no matter what form it takes."
"WOW," Ashley breathes out. "That's really deep. You should write it down."
I reach into the plate and throw a piece of fish at her. "Not funny," I pout.
Ashley smiles and brushes off the fish before looking up into my eyes. "I'm not laughing," she says softly.
Oh man. I don't know if I can take much more of this.
I can't imagine what clearly insane woman ever decided to break her heart and let her get away.
I look over at her to see that she's turned her attention to the ocean. She's idly chewing on another piece of fish as she stares out into it's depths. I'm just about to ask her about what she said before when the sudden sound of approaching footsteps breaks up my train of thought.
Oh joy. It's Tori.
Ashley looks up at the blonde and smiles politely. "Hey, Tori. How's it goin'?"
Tori obviously takes that as an invitation because she walks around the log to take a seat next to Ashley.
A really close seat next to Ashley.
"So, I was talking to Sammie earlier and we decided that maybe we should take a trip further down the beach tomorrow. Y'know, to try and see if we can find anything or anyone else that might have survived the wreck."
"And we were wondering if maybe you wanted to come with us?" Tori adds with a flirty smile.
Can you believe this skank? And right in front of me too!
Well, I may just be her pretend girlfriend...but seriously!
Like I'm really gonna let two hot chicks drag Ashley down the beach all alone where there's no way I can be there to make sure they don't...
"Umm, yeah, I guess," Ashley answers her and all thought ceases in my brain. "I mean, as long as my side feels better by morning." She looks over at me with a soft smile. "Spencer can come too. I can't go leavin' my girl behind."
I can't fight the smile that forces it's way across my lips.
Why does my heart skip a beat every time she says that?
"Sounds like fun," I finally answer with a smile. I look over Ashley's shoulder to see Tori give me a scowl before standing up with a huff and stomping away.
Ashley and I share a laugh as we watch her trip on some sand and curse under her breath.
"Are you sure about this?" Ashley asks, turning back to face me. "Cause, y'know...I'm not exactly in the best shape to come to your rescue if they decide to conk you over the head and drag you off down the beach screaming like banshees."
"Oh, please," I say, shrugging it off. "I think I can handle tweedle skank and tweedle skankier."
Ashley raises a brow at me and her smile turns into a slight smirk. "Well, if I didn't know better...I'd say that sounded just a bit jealous."
Oh God. It did.
"You keep that up, and you'll be getting an Oscar of your very own," Ashley chuckles before reaching down to grab the plate. She turns her attention back to eating and it gives me the moment I need to get myself and my feelings under control.
She thinks I was just pretending. She can't actually believe why anyone would get jealous over her and she made sure to include me. Even called me her girl...
She really is the perfect partner.
You know what they say about considerate partners...
They make the best lovers.
Okay. I so didn't need to think about that.
The thought lingers in my mind as I turn my attention to the ocean and stare out into it's clear blue depths that fade away to meet the night sky.
I don't think I've ever seen such a sight so beautiful.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Ashley asks me softly.
"Yeah," I smile. "It really is."
She's quiet for a moment and I finally pull my eyes from the vision to look over at her. She smiles at me and lets out the softest sigh.
"Still...can't even begin to compare to you."
Okay. It's official.
I'm in love.
I don't know what's happening to me.
I can't seem to go more than five minutes without thinking about Ashley. Or really, more about Ashley's eyes, or Ashley's smile, or Ashley's laugh, or Ashley's lips...
So, you see my dilemma.
I hate to admit it, but after ten years of marriage and fifteen years in a single relationship, last night was the single most romantic night of my life.
After Ashley's perfect timing with the perfect thing to say, I found myself pulled so easily into a conversation with her. We talked about everything.
We talked about the ocean, the sky, beauty, her career, her music, my dream of becoming a teacher, both our childhoods, our families, our hopes and our dreams for our futures, and how all that was only possible if we somehow managed to get off this damn island.
I've never been able to just talk with someone like that before. Aiden and I never really had a conversation that went beyond what was for dinner.
I can't believe how easy it was for me to talk to her. It was like...she wanted to hear whatever I had to say and she really listened. She was so willing to open herself up to me too.
By the time the night was over, I felt like I had known her all my life.
Ashley Davies is clearly not the typical idea of a rockstar. Most of the conversation was spent talking about me and I what I wanted out of my life. She never once boasted about her success or about living in a mansion on a hill or about her fifteen car garage.
She was just so real and so genuine that for the first time in a long time, I really felt connected to someone.
Which...brings me to my point. Or I guess it's really more of a question.
Is it actually possible to fall in love with someone after you've only known them for a day?
I'll be honest. It has been a very long time since I've felt that deep, intensely burning love for someone.
Sure, I loved Aiden like that once upon a time. Maybe back when we were young and in love, but over the years that love changed.
He was my husband and I was his wife. I loved him for that, but it wasn't the love I first felt for him. It wasn't the love that made feel as though I was the only woman in the world that mattered to him. It wasn't the love that made me feel as though he was the only one that I could ever love that way.
I loved him because he was my husband, and now...he's not.
For a very long time, my heart ached. After what he did to me, I was convinced that I wasn't able to be loved. I was sure that I was the one that had done something wrong and that I didn't deserve his love anymore.
It wasn't until last night that Ashley finally made me realize how completely untrue that all really is. She told me that I more than anyone deserved to be loved and that Aiden was a complete idiot for ever letting me go.
After she threatened to have him killed, which of course made me laugh, she told me that if she was ever lucky enough to find a woman like me, she'd do her best to make sure that she knew how much she was loved each and every day. She said she'd grab on with both hands and never let go.
It may just be me, but I'm starting to believe she was pulled straight out of some fairy tale.
Either that or she's Shakespeare's long lost love child.
Everything that comes out of her mouth either makes me laugh, smile, or blush myself to death.
I just wish things were different.
As strong as I think my feelings are, I'm just not willing to jump back into anything so quickly after Aiden. Not to even mention the fact that she's a woman and I'm a woman and we're both...women.
If that wasn't bad enough, she's a celebrity, and we all know that there's no such thing as a celebrity's private life. I'm not so sure that I'm ready to be thrown into that life style.
I've spent the last ten years of my life as a simple home-maker. Yes, Aiden was a big time lawyer with many and various friends, but it was no where near the life of a rock star.
As much as I had to admit it, the biggest part of all that is the fact that she's a woman. I don't know what it's like to be in a relationship with another woman, much less how to...
You know what I mean.
My heart is pounding one thing, while my head is screaming another.
I have no idea what I'm going to do, but I know that I have to make a decision soon.
I really don't want to lead Ashley on. She has been nothing but perfect to me and I don't want to give her any false hopes about me...about us. She deserves better than that. A lot better.
But...that still doesn't stop my heart from racing at just the sight of her. It doesn't stop that twisting feeling deep in my stomach when she smiles at me, and it sure as hell doesn't stop the overwhelming urge I have to just walk right up to her and...
"Hey, you ready to go?"
I look up from my seat on the log to see Ashley smiling down at me.
Oh, right. The whole "search and rescue" mission.
I don't know. Am I really ready to be so close to her all day long?
Well, after falling asleep in her lap last night, I doubt I could get much closer.
I smile as I stand up. "As ready as I'll ever be."
Ashley smiles and holds out her arm. I look down at it for just a moment before slipping my arm through hers and allowing her to lead me off down the beach.
I'm starting to wonder.
Who's really leading who on here?
We're walking along just enjoying the moment between us when it's suddenly and rudely interrupted by a shrill giggle.
"I'm so happy you're coming along!" Tori screams as she runs up to Ashley and places her hand on the right side of her stomach.
Ashley flinches back and groans.
"Oh God! I'm so sorry!" Tori says as she quickly jerks her hand away. "I forgot about your thingy!"
Uhh...did she just say...thingy?
"It's okay," Ashley tries to assure her through a breathy smile, but we can both tell that she's in a considerable amount of pain. "Hardly felt a thing."
"Are you sure?" I ask. I can't help it, I can't stand to see her in pain.
I gently place my hand over the fluffy bulge under her shirt. I really hope we manage to find some sort of clothing. She's still wearing that same dirty white blood-stained tank top that has a rip where the glass cut through into her skin.
If it didn't smell like sea water and dried blood, it might be a little ruggedly sexy.
"I'm fine, really," Ashley assures me as she gently grabs my hand. I look up into her eyes and for some reason I totally believe her.
"Well, then," Tori snidely remarks from over Ashley's shoulder. "We really should get going."
I finally break eye contact with Ashley to glance at Tori over her shoulder. I can't help but smile at the scowl on her face. Her friend Sam steps up behind her and smiles. "We ready?"
Ashley turns to them and smiles. "Lead the way."
Tori shoots me one more dirty look before grabbing Sam by the arm and grumbling as they head down the beach.
Ashley turns to face me with a grin. "You're so mean."
Me? Mean? Whatever for?
I just smile as I trail my hand down her forearm before entwining my arm through hers. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh, really?" Ashley laughs as we start to walk off. "So I was just imagining you rubbin' it in Tori's face just now?"
"Rubbing what in?" I ask with an innocent smile.
Ashley chuckles and shakes her head as she glances down the beach. "Oh, nothin'."
Can I help how much fun this is?
"I'm just doing my part to keep you skank free for as long as I can," I answer with a grin.
Ashley turns to look at me. "What makes you so sure she's a skank? She might actually be a really cool girl."
I just raise my brow and lean back slightly. She quickly shakes her head and corrects herself. "Not that I mean it like that. I mean, she talks way too much, she's too skinny, and she's so clearly a bottle blonde."
"So, those would all be qualities that don't fall under the category of 'your type'?"
I already know the answer, but I need to hear her say it.
Ashley smiles a cryptic smile and turns her gaze to the ocean. "You could say that."
I can feel my heart pick up speed as it pounds in my ears.
"So...what would be those qualities?"
Do I really wanna know the answer to that?
Ashley turns back to face me with no hint of that smile. I can see the inner struggle she's having shine right through those deep chocolate eyes.
She lets out a slow breath and shakes her head just slightly. For a moment, I don't think she's going to answer me.
"She'd have to be kind. She'd have to have a sense of humor, but still be able to have a deep and meaningful conversation. She'd be warm and caring and be able to recognize beauty in all forms." A small smile finally graces her lips. "She'd have the deepest blue eyes and the softest smile. She wouldn't be intimidated by my stardom and she'd see me as more than just a piggy bank with great hair."
We both laugh and then fall into a comfortable silence.
Ashley glances back out at the ocean before meeting my eyes again. "I guess I just want what everybody else wants. Somebody who'll love me for who I am and somebody who I'll love just the same." She gives me a small smile before finishing in a whisper, "that's all."
Well...I guess that's not so much to ask for.
"Hey!" We both look up at the sound of Tori's voice. "We found something over here! Come check it out!"
I look over at Ashley and smile. She returns it with a shake of her head. "If it's just another piece of driftwood with a dead fish attached...I can't be held responsible for what I might do."
Ashley must see the confusion on my face because she just shakes her head and laughs. "Don't ask."
"Come on," Ashley says as she drops her hand to my side and interlaces her fingers with mine. "We better get over there just in case it's something important."
For the moment, I choose to ignore the feeling the touch causes in my heart as I once again follow Ashley down the beach.
I really don't know what's happening between us, but something tells me it's a good thing.
A very...very good thing.
When they do finally get together, they're laying on a blanket by the fire. There's heavy make out and touching.
Spencer stops and looks up into Ashley's eyes. "Ashley?"
"I...I think I'm in love with you."
Ashley smiles and brushes a strand of hair back from Spencer's face. "I know I am."
Okay, so that thing that Tori found?
Well, it turned out to be important all right.
It was a suitcase that had washed up on shore from the wreckage. We're not sure what's in it or how it even survived that wreck, but somehow it managed to float up just where Tori and Sam could spot it.
I'm starting to wonder just how tragic this wreck really is...
Ashley insisted on carrying the suitcase back to the others, but I wasn't gonna hear it. She could barely bend down to check it out without nearly passing out from the pain. I guess those pills that Mark gave her must've finally worn off.
So I told her to just let Tori and Sam handle it. I wrapped my arm around her waist and allowed her to lean most of her weight on me as I helped her back down the beach.
Mark was waiting by the fire pit when we finally arrived back.
Which brings us to the current argument I've suddenly found myself thrown into with Ashley.
"I know you're not an invalid," I sigh and run a hand down my face. "I just don't want you aggravating that cut anymore. There's no telling what could happen and it's not like we can just rush you to the ER."
"Don't treat me like I'm stupid, Spence," Ashley snaps back. "I'm a big girl and I think I know what my own body can take."
"Fine," I say with a sigh and throw my hands into the air. "I'm gonna go see if the others managed to find something to eat." I don't give her a chance to reply as I turn and quickly walk away.
The the completely insane hilarity of this moment is not lost on me at all.
We're not even a real couple and we're having our first fight.
Wait...does this mean we get to make up?
Oh God. I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that.
I'm still not sure about this whole thing between me and Ashley.
Fake relationship or not, there's a line that I just won't cross.
I turn my head at the sound of my name. I smile when Mark walks up to me with a friendly grin. "Hey, doc. How's it goin'?"
"Well, I was hoping you could tell me," he replies cryptically.
I feel my brow furrow. "What are you talkin' about?"
Mark nods back over his shoulder. I turn my head just enough to glance back.
I see Ashley sitting on a log by the fire pit. She's poking at the dwindling fire with a stick and looking like somebody just kicked her sick puppy.
"Oh, that," I sigh and turn back to face him.
Mark shakes his head as we come to a stop under a shade tree. "The first big fight is always the toughest. Believe it or not, I was young once too." He smiles at me and runs a hand back through his thick black hair.
"What?" He doesn't look that old. "Not that I don't appreciate the compliment, but I'm not exactly at my prime anymore. Besides, you can't be that much older."
Mark smiles and averts his eyes. "Yeah, well, looks can be deceiving." He brings his eyes back to meet mine. "She's in a lot of pain. That's really clouding her judgment right now. Whatever she said, I'm sure she didn't mean it. She's just really frustrated and doesn't know what to do."
A guy that knows the interworkings of the female mind.
"Just...what kinda doctor are you really?" I ask, a teasing smile pulling at my lips.
Mark laughs and takes a step back in mock defense. "Relax. I'm not here to shrink anybody." His laughing subsides and a serious expression replaces it. "I don't think you need a degree in psychology to see when two people are throwing away something unbelievably good over something completely stupid."
I can't believe it. He's right.
I don't even know what started the fight or even what it's over.
I know one thing for sure.
This little fight has made me totally reevaluate my "fake" relationship with Ashley.
I mean, if we're fighting over what she should and shouldn't do...well, I just think that borders on obsessive/concerned real girlfriend behavior.
I'm suddenly wondering just what in the hell I managed to get myself into this time.
My thoughts are interrupted when Mark takes a step closer and places a gentle hand on my shoulder. "Just...talk to her, okay?" I nod silently and he smiles, giving me a pat on the shoulder before walking away.
I watch him walk towards the fire pit and that's when I catch another glance of her. She's still sitting on the log, but the stick is gone. She's talking idly with Jake, but I can tell she's really not into whatever he's saying.
My mind is suddenly flooded with mixed feelings.
I can't help it.
Mark's words have somehow managed to worm their way into my brain and bury themselves there.
Damn. What am I so upset about anyway?
It's not like she's my girlfriend or anything. Well, not my real girlfriend.
I really have no right to be pissed at her for talking to me like that or for her not wanting to listen to me. She has no obligation to care about either.
The thing I'm most worried about...is how much that realization hurts.
No. Absolutely...no. No. No. NO.
I am NOT in love with her.
Hell, I don't even know her.
Okay, so we spent one night together pouring our feelings out to each other and sharing our deepest, darkest secrets with each other. She's the first person I've felt that deep connection with. She's the first person who's actually listened to me and cared about what I was saying and what I was feeling.
So she told me I was beautiful. So she saved my life.
That doesn't mean I'm in love with her.
I jump when the soft and slightly husky voice drifts into my ears. I turn around to see Ashley standing just behind me with an apologetic smile.
"Sorry if I scared you," Ashley whispers. "But...I just...I just wanted to say sorry. And I did. So, I'm just gonna go now." She turns to go and I suddenly find myself reaching out to grab her by the arm. She stops and turns back to face me.
Our eyes lock and we're both pulled back into that unexplainable moment that happens between us every time they do.
"I'm sorry too," I finally answer as I release my grip on her arm. My hand falls back to my side as I give her my best smile. "I shouldn't try to tell you what to do. It's your body and you know what it needs. So...I'm sorry."
"No," Ashley quickly protests with a shake of her head. "I was just being a pompous ass. I let my pride get in the way of you just trying to help me. It's just..." She trails off and goes silent as she stares back into my eyes.
She finally lets out a deep sigh and runs a hand back through her unruly auburn curls. "I just couldn't stand it if you thought I was weak, Spencer. I don't ever want you to think that I couldn't take care of..." She chokes back on the last word before quickly finishing with a quiet whisper of, "myself."
A deep pang resounds in my heart at the look on her face. If there was any doubt in my mind before, it's gone now.
I'm in love with her.
There's no other explanation for how she can cause such deep and intense feelings to stir within me.
I have to swallow back the lump in my throat when I step forward and reach down to grab her hand. I give her a shaky smile. "There is no way I could ever think you were weak. You're pretty much the strongest, most bravest person I know. Who's completely capable of taking care of...herself."
A slow smile spreads across her face and I feel her give my hand a gentle squeeze in kind. "You can't imagine how glad I am to hear you say that." We share a smile before hers turns into a slow grin. "Or how glad I am that you didn't shove my face in the ground and make me eat dirt."
I can't help but laugh. She's just too cute sometimes.
"Just...come on," I say, still laughing as I tug at her hand. "Let's go see about eating something else."
A deep blush shoots up from my neck. Ashley just chuckles and gives my hip a light shove with hers. "Relax, Spence. I know you were talking about lunch."
Of course I was.
So, lunch pretty much consisted of coconuts and some kinda dried leaves that Blake tried to pass off as actually tasting good.
Unfortunately, dinner was marginally better.
We had left over dried leaves with a side of overcooked fish.
I'm just glad it's over.
At least it wasn't a total bust. It gave me a reason to get Ashley all to myself.
We're currently sitting by the fire pit all alone. The others went to bed a while ago, but Ashley insisted on staying up with me when I started complaining of an upset stomach.
It must be the leaves.
"Are you sure you don't need to..."
"No, it's okay. I'll be fine," I answer with a light smile as I look over at her.
The flames from the fire are dancing in her eyes, giving the deep brown hue a golden glow. I know I've never seen a more beautiful sight.
Ashley smiles at me and places a hand on my back, rubbing it gently. "You sure you don't need me to get Mark? I'm sure he'd be happy to..."
"Ash," I interrupt with a light laugh. "I'm fine. Really."
She lets out a sigh and shakes her head with a smile. "Sorry. Something told me to stop you from eating that disaster that Blake called dinner, but you just looked so cute doing it."
How do you look cute eating dinner?
"I doubt holding your nose and swallowing the whole thing in one bite classifies as...cute."
Ashley's smile turns soft as she reaches up and brushes a strand of hair back from my face. "Everything you do is cute, Spence."
The thudding in my chest increases from the light touch.
I swallow back...hard.
"Umm...I...I mean, you..."
Ashley chuckles softly and it sends another jolt straight down my spine. She finally drops her hand away from my face and it falls down to rest on the log next to my leg. I can feel the tips of her fingers brushing against my thigh.
Is she trying to kill me?
"You are so...beautiful," Ashley breathes. "I'm sorry, but I've just been sitting here watching the fire dancing in your eyes and I just had to say it."
Okay. That's it.
I can't take it anymore.
"Ashley?" God. Was that my voice?
"Hmm?" she hums deep in her throat. It comes out as a husky moan.
"Ashley? I..." For some reason, I can't seem to get the words out. Maybe it's the night air, maybe it's the smoke from the fire...or maybe it's the fact that Ashley's face is suddenly a lot closer to mine.
I watch in frozen silence as Ashley's lips draw closer and closer to mine.
"Ash...I think...I think I'm in love with you."
There. I said it.
She suddenly stops. Her lips are a breath away from mine.
We lock eyes and she lets out a slow, steady sigh.
"Spence?" she finally whispers and I can feel the sweet warmth of her breath against my face. I watch with the breath hitched in my throat as she lifts her hand to run it through my hair.
"I know I am."
I watch the fire dance in her eyes as she leans forward and finally presses her lips to mine.
Ashley kissed me.
Something that I've been thinking about since it happened a few hours ago. Apparently, it's ALL that I've been able to think about seeing as how it's the single and only thought that keeps racing through my mind.
She only kissed me once, but God did she do it good.
It was a single fleeting moment, but it was the most intense moment I've ever had in my entire life. It was also the single most intense moment that I've ever shared with another living soul in my entire life.
Nothing Aiden and I had ever came close to that.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that one kiss was as far as it went.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I want her to strip me down and take me right here in the sand next to the fire as the flames dance off our sweat soaked bodies as we moan into the cold...night...air...
Apparently that thought just went to a very naughty place there.
But really, when you think about it, that image is kinda appealing...
Oh, God. I've gotta stop that.
I don't know what's wrong with me. I was never this...this...enthused about sex before.
Of course, I've only ever had sex with Aiden. He was my first, my last, and my only. So, it's bad enough that I've only ever had sex with the same man for ten years, I think it goes to say that it's even worse that I've never even kissed another woman.
That's why I can't figure out what's got me so...attracted to Ashley. I barely know her, yet I feel like I've known her all my life. She's the complete opposite of Aiden in just about every way, yet I can't seem to ever get close enough to her.
I don't understand it. I just don't know what's got me so worked up over one stupid kiss...
"Spencer?" Ashley's voice whispers next to me.
I turn my head to the side just enough so I can see her face over my shoulder. "Yeah?" I whisper back in the darkness.
"Are you warm enough?" she asks me softly. I feel her arm tighten around my waist just slightly. "You keep shaking."
I close my eyes and smile. I love the feel of her warmth surrounding me. Her arm around my waist and the feel of her warmth breath on the side of my neck is more than enough to keep me warm in the cold night air.
I can't imagine why I'd be shaking.
"No, I'm good," I finally answer back.
Ashley reaches around me to tuck the blanket tighter against my side before resting her arm back on my stomach. I hear her let out a breathy sigh before she snuggles back against my neck.
After we kissed, Ashley and I found ourselves in that inevitable awkward moment that follows a kiss like that. She chuckled nervously and I just blushed as normal. After a few minutes of just sitting there and looking anywhere but at each other, Ashley finally put us both out of our misery when she suggested we go to bed.
Of course, my mind immediately went to that naughty place. Ashley must've seen it on my face because her chuckling grew more husky and she placed a gentle hand on my knee.
"To sleep, Spencer. Just to sleep." She clarified it for me with a small laugh and a lazy grin.
So, that's how we found ourselves on this spot by the fire. We're far enough away to avoid the flames, but close enough that we can still feel it's comforting heat.
Ashley spread out one of the blankets that we keep warming by the fire and then she led me over by the hand. She waited for me to lay down before taking the spot next to me and then pulling the other blanket over us.
She wrapped her arm around me and has been holding me ever since.
Just the feel of her arm around me and knowing that her body is so close to my body, that her lips are so close to my lips...
And she wonders why I can't stop shaking.
"You don't regret it, do you?"
This time, I don't turn to face her. "Do I regret what?"
Okay, so that was a lame attempt at playing dumb. It's late. I'm tired.
"Y'know," Ashley sighs. "The...kiss." She shifts behind me and I instantly miss the feel of her body pressed tightly against mine. "You've just been so quiet. I'm just worried that maybe all of this is weirding you out or something."
"Ashley," I say softly as I turn in her arms to face her. Our eyes lock and I can see the deep concern shining back at me. "I'm so far from weirded that it's not even funny." I try to keep a straight face, but we both smile at how that just sounded. "You get what I mean."
Ashley's quiet for a long moment before she finally sighs out and nods. "Yeah. I guess. It's just..." She breaks our eye contact to roll over onto her back. She places her right arm under her head and stares up at the sky.
"It's been a while since I've felt like this," Ashley sighs after a moment. "I've never felt this way about a girl before, let alone after just one little kiss." She turns her head to meet my eyes with just the slightest grin. "But what a helluva kiss it was. I guess it's true what they say about blondes."
Okay. She so had me until she said...that.
I raise my brow and give her my best stare. "And what is that?"
I see the grin instantly fall from her face and I fight to hold back one of my own. It's unnatural to have this much power over someone. Especially if that someone isn't even your girlfriend.
"Umm, well...I-I just meant...that...uh..." She finally stops and lets out a deep breath. "Never mind. Sometimes my mouth runs away before my brain can catch it."
Okay. Enough with the torture.
I smile and reach over to lightly touch her side. "Relax. I was only kidding."
She looks over at me with the slightest glance before turning her gaze back to the sky. A small smile teases at the corners of her mouth. "You're something, you know that Carlin."
"Well," I sigh and flip over onto my back. I place my arm under my head and turn my eyes to the sky. "Guess I've been called a lot worse, so I'll let that one slide."
Ashley chuckles that deep, husky chuckle that sounds as if it comes from the very core of her being.
I hope Ashley doesn't notice the deep shiver that runs through my body.
"Look," Ashley whispers and I glance over to see her pointing up at the sky. My eyes follow the line of her finger to see the arragement of stars.
"Wow. It's beautiful."
"Yeah," Ashley sighs again. "You see that one in the in the far right? It's called Vega. It's part of the Summer Triangle. It's the fifth brightest star and if you look at it just right...you can see the deep blue tint."
I stare at the star for a long moment. It really is beautiful.
"Wow, you really can. It's really beautiful."
I hear Ashley sigh again and then I feel the blanket shift beneath me. I lazily turn my head to the side not really wanting to take my eyes off the star.
I come face to face with Ashley.
"Hey," she says softly, giving me a gentle smile.
I swallow back the sudden lump in my throat. "Hi."
Ashley keeps staring into my eyes. I can feel her warm breath against my face. It smells like the fruit we had for dinner. She leans in close and lifts a hand to run her finger along my hairline.
"Did I ever tell you that my favorite color is blue?"
Just the way she's looking at me is enough to make my insides melt.
"Umm...n-no," I finally manage to croak out. "I guess I was t-thinking more along the lines of...black."
Ashley smiles. "What? Just cause I'm some big rockstar, I have to like black? Well, I do, but that's not the point."
"Me like...black." Great. Just one look from her and I'm cavegirl Spencer.
Ashley raises a perfectly sculpted brow and smirks. "I'm glad...you do."
Perfect. Now she thinks I'm a brainless freak.
"Wait. I mean..."
I'm suddenly silenced by the slightest shake of Ashley's head. "Doesn't matter. As long as I can just lay here with you."
My heart starts pounding in my ears and every nerve cell in my body is popping to life. I feel those tingles starting in my toes as I watch Ashley's lips move closer to mine.
I close my eyes, anticipating the kiss...
"Spencer?" I hear her whisper. I can feel her breath on my lips. "Are you sure?"
My only answer is to press my lips to hers.
Once again I feel myself pulled into that haze that only she can cause in me. The feel of her lips on mine and her fingers running through my hair is enough to drive me certifiable.
Aiden never kissed me like this.
My hand must have a mind of it's own because I suddenly find it wandering down to Ashley's side and over her hip. My fingers curve around her thigh and my hand rests there with the lightest of touches.
I feel the shiver run through her.
Ashley's fingers tighten in my hair and I hear her let out a deep moan.
The next thing I know, I'm lying on my back with a very worked up Ashley on top of me. Our kiss grows more intense, but I can feel her struggling to control herself.
Somehow I manage to break away from her lips. "Ashley?"
Her soft brown eyes finally focus on mine.
"It's okay," I whisper softly. "I want you to."
She gives me a soft smile through her deep breaths. She runs her fingers back through my hair and leans down to whisper next to my ear. "And I want you too."
Then her lips are back on mine and I'm lost in her once again.
I know what you're wondering.
I know it's been nagging at your brain. It's dug it's way inside your brain and settled there, refusing to budge.
Did we...or didn't we?
Well, as much as I want Ashley, and after last night...there's no doubt in my mind she wants me just as much...I can't really say I didn't want to.
But then again, we were on the middle of a beach next to a roaring fire which just so happened to only be a few yards away from a horde of other strange people.
Seeing as how I've only ever had sex with my husband, in our home, in our bed, well...let's just say I'm not exactly the exhibitionist type.
Come to think of it, my sex life, what little of it I've had, has been pretty much the opposite of anything as daring as that.
For lack of a better word, it's been pretty vanilla.
In more ways than one.
I'm not usually one to talk so openly about sex, but if last night is any indication of my future sex life...
Okay. So maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here.
Just because Ashley and I've shared two of the hottest, most passionate kisses known to humankind doesn't mean it has to go any further than that. I mean, I don't even know when or if we're even gonna get off this damn island.
I like Ashley. I mean I really like Ashley.
She's got the softest lips. Her kisses make my insides melt and my skin prickle.
And those hands.
I didn't know you could feel so much from just the softest touch.
I must be channeling her now because I swear that just sounded like a line from one of her early songs...
And that's another thing.
I find myself falling more and more for her each day, but there's always that nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me how much we'd both have to give up just to be together.
She's a frikken' rock star for craps sake.
A rich, famous, beautiful, talented, double platinum, and very successful...rock star.
Our relationship would constantly be under the microscope. Our lives would be anything but private and we could just forget about any hope for those romantic nights alone.
It'd be a complete disaster.
And yet...I can't keep my eyes off of her. She has to be too good to be true.
There's no other explanation for what I feel. I fell so hard...so fast.
I'd spend the rest of my life wondering what might've been.
So, the question now?
Is it worth it?
Would it be worth it to have a life constantly scrutinized and judged by everyone just to be with her?
"Hey," I hear her whisper in my ear. "Did'ja sleep okay?"
I roll to the side and look up into her deep brown eyes. She smiles softly through her sleepy haze.
Would it be worth it?
I smile and stretch out my legs. "Yep. Best sleep I've had in a while."
"I'm so glad," I hear her chuckle over my shoulder. She stretches and lets out a long moan. "I could definitely deal with some munchage right now, but no more fish. There's only so much a girl can take."
I smile and push myself up onto my side. "Yeah, I'm with you on that one. I could really do with a hot shower right about now too."
"Well, the closest we got is that waterfall Jake found yesterday. It's just beyond the edge of the jungle a little way down the beach."
I glance down the beach to see Tori and Sam emerging from the jungle right near where Ashley said. "Looks like we got up just in time."
Ashley's eyes trail down the beach and she smiles. "I knew it. Those two were seriously givin' off that vibe."
"What vibe?" I turn to ask her with a furrowed brow.
Ashley looks at me with that cocky grin. "The 'I so want to throw you down and ravage you right now' vibe. Sam's way hot for Tori."
Really? I had no idea.
"How can you tell?" I ask, still not understanding. "I just thought they were really good friends. Sides, Tori's been falling all over you since the ship..."
"Yeah," Ashley chuckles, shaking her head. "Poor Sam, but I knew it the second I saw them together. It's really not that hard to see. It's in her eyes. Just the way Sam looks at her..." She trails off and shakes her head again.
"I'm just not sure which one I feel bad for," she finishes with a laugh.
I can't help but laugh too. "Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't know how Sam isn't deaf by now."
Ashley looks over at me before pulling herself to her feet and then extending her hand down to me. "It's amazing what you'd do for love."
I look back up into her eyes and mirror her soft smile. I reach up and place my hand in hers, allowing her to pull me to my feet.
For a moment, we just stand here, looking back into each other's eyes until I finally find my voice. "Yeah, it really is."
Ashley's smile upturns just slightly. "So, how 'bout that waterfall?"
Romantic shower for two in a spot of secluded jungle beneath a beautifully cascading waterfall...
Gee, that's a tough one.
I pull my hand away from hers, being sure to trail my fingertips across her palm. I give her my best sexy grin. "Only if you come too." I don't give her a chance to reply as I turn and make my way down the beach.
I can't see her, but I hear the sharp intake of breath followed by the long release of it.
Oh, this is almost too easy.
We finally arrived at the entrance to the water fall nearly half an hour later.
We managed to wrestle a couple of the blankets away from the others on our way through.
God, I so need this.
Not just the bath, but it also gives me the chance for some seriously intense alone time with Ashley. I'm trying not to let the thought that this is going to consist of us both being naked get to me.
I can't even begin to describe what that thought makes me feel.
"So," Ashley breaks into my inner babble with a sigh. "You wanna go first?"
I turn to her to see the slight tick in her eyebrow and the nervous smile gracing her lips.
She's so cute when she's nervous.
I just smile softly and shake my head as I reach down for her hand. "I think this big 'ole water fall is big enough for the both of us." I pull her over to the edge of the water and place my blanket onto the ground. I drop my hand from hers and turn to face her.
"I hope it's not too cold," I say with a light laugh.
Ashley returns the laugh nervously as she slowly drops her blanket onto the ground next to mine. I watch as her eyes dart around everywhere but at me. She lets out a few unsteady breaths and I can see her hands shaking.
I don't know whether to laugh...or cry.
She's been nothing but sweet, kind, caring, understanding, and overall wonderful to me.
This just makes me love her that much more.
"Ashley," I say as softly as I can as I reach out and gently envelop her hands in mine. I wait for her eyes to meet mine before giving her my best comforting smile. "Just relax. I'm not expecting anything and this doesn't have to mean anything more than..."
"Spencer?" she suddenly interrupts. "I know that I've fallen for you. There is no doubt in my mind that I feel something for you that I..." She stops and lets out a deep breath. She squeezes my hands and I can see her nervousness finally melt away. "I just think that it's very important that nothing happens here today except a bath. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing more in the world that I want than to..." She stops again and lets out another shaky breath. "I just don't want to rush into things. I think it's important to build a relationship emotionally before rushing into anything physical."
Okay. Now I know she can't possibly be for real.
My head snaps up and I look into her eyes. I can see the hesitation and fear shining back at me.
She's worried I'd be mad that she didn't want to push me into something that I'm not sure I'm ready for?
Are you kidding me?
"What? No," I answer with a shake of my head. "No. Of course not."
Ashley shakes her head just slightly. She runs her fingers back through her tangled hair and lets out the softest of sighs. "Whew," she says with a light laugh. "I can't say I wasn't worried for a second there."
I'm not sure if I should be upset that she actually thought that I would want to have sex this early in what isn't even a real relationship yet, or if I should melt at the thought that she was so nervous and worried about how I would react to her rejecting me.
I look up to see her eyes on me. They have taken on that soft and gentle glow that almost makes them seem to shine with the tiniest flecks of gold in their dark brown depths.
So...melting it is.
I smile, trying my best not to let her see me shaking. "Y'know, for a big kick-ass rock star...you can be really cute sometimes." I laugh softly and turn away to reach down for the make shift bar of soap we had wrapped up in the blankets.
It seems that Blake and Jakes somehow managed between the two of them to make some soap out of some berries and leaves they found in the jungle. I don't know how or why, but for some reason I actually agreed to use the stuff.
I get some sort of huge, bubbling, smelly rash or if all my hair falls out...there will be much pain inflicted on both.
"I thought we've been over this, Carlin," I finally hear Ashley laugh from behind me. "I'm a lot of things...but I am most certainly not cute."
I stand up and turn around with the bar of soap in hand. I give her a raised brow and just the slightest teasing grin. "Don't worry, Davies. Your secret's safe with me."
Ashley's smile widens and she gets this dangerous look in her eyes.
I stare back at her for a long moment before something finally clicks in my brain. I drop the soap back onto the blanket and raise my hand to point a `finger at her.
"Don't you dare. Don't you even think it."
I don't even have time to react before I feel my body suddenly overtaken by hers. I let out a squeal as our momentum sends us flying over the edge of the grass and straight down into the water.
I suck in a deep breath as the sudden feel of cold against my skin, then I feel it surround me as we're forced under the surface of the water. A second later we both emerge now drenched from head to toe in the soothing liquid.
"Ashley!" I yell as I push the hair back out of my eyes. "I can't believe you did that! What about your side?"
Ashley shakes the hair out of her eyes and grins, but I can see the pain on her face and the slight tilt in her body. "I h-hardly felt a...thing."
"Ashley," I chastise gently as I swim over to her and wrap my arm around her waist. "You shouldn't have done that. You could've popped your stitches."
"I c...couldn't help myself."
I finally manage to get her propped up against the side of the grass. I reach down to pull up her wet shirt so I can get a better look at her side. The bandage is soaked and useless now so I gently pull it away.
I can hear Ashley suck in a breath and I feel her flinch when I pull it away. I'm suprised to see that her stitches still completely intact and that her wound doesn't seem to be any worse.
"You lucked out, Davies," I say with a light shake of my head. I can't help but smile down at her. "If you would've screwed up those stitches, then I would've had to screw you."
Please tell me I didn't just say that.
Ashley reaches up to grab her side and her eyes widen just slightly before she breaks out into a huge grin. "Carlin, I'm shocked."
I know this has to be the deepest blush I've ever had in my whole life. "I d-didn't...I mean, I...then...I wasn't...not that I wouldn't...I mean...no..."
"Spencer, relax," Ashley chuckles and places a hand on my knee. "I know what you meant. You better stop that or one of these times you might just combust."
I still can't believe I just said that.
I wonder what Freud would say...
"Sorry," I say with shy smile. I avert my eyes from her and turn towards the waterfall. "It's more beautiful than I thought."
I'd do anything to change the subject right now.
"Yeah," Ashley finally answers. "It is." She's quiet for a moment before adding, "so, about this bathing thing..."
I slowly turn back to face her and I know that I'm blushing again.
Ashley grins at me. "How good are you at giving sponge baths?"
I bet she thinks she's so funny.
Oh, I'll give her a sponge bath all right.
"Stop it," I tell her with a smile and reach down to slap her on her good side. She lifts a hand and rubs it tenderly, giving me that little half-pout.
"Oh no, Davies," I say sighing and shaking my head. "Sorry, but that's just not gonna cut it this time. The only kinda touching that will be happening here today is going to be on yourself."
God, what is this?
Have I contracted some sort of perverted version of 'foot in mouth' disease?
I groan and raise a hand to cover my eyes. "Maybe it's best if I just don't speak for the rest of the day."
I hear Ashley chuckle that husky chuckle deep in the back of her throat.
I feel her reach over and pull my hand from my eyes. I open them slowly to see her smiling up at me. "I'm going to have to come out strongly against that. I don't think I could go a whole day without hearing that voice." She smiles at me.
I don't think I have an organ left in my body that hasn't melted at just the sight of that smile.
"So, do you always make women fall all over themselves and then at your feet in a willing pile of mush with those smooth words and that sexy smile?"
I don't know why I asked that.
I'm kinda afraid to hear the answer.
I see Ashley raise a slow brow and then her smile turns into a full-blown smirk. "You think my smile's sexy?"
Of course. Leave it up to Ashley to turn it into something...sexy.
I avert my eyes and start playing with a wild strand of grass on the embankment. "Yeah," I finally answer in a barely audible whisper. "Among other things..."
I hope she didn't hear that last part.
I hope she didn't hear that last part.
"Hey," she laughs lightly. I feel the touch of her fingertips against my forearm and it's enough to make me look over at her. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I promise I won't do it again."
Well, now...let's not be hasty.
"It's...okay," I finally manage to answer. I give her a shaky smile before pulling myself up out of the water. "Come on, we better hurry. It looks like it's gonna rain."
Okay. So it's not the best lie, but it's early and my brain hasn't kicked in yet.
Ashley wraps her arm around my shoulder and together we manage to get her back on her feet. She doesn't cringe that much and she only makes a tiny groan when it stretches the muscles in her injured side.
"There," she breathes out heavily. "All better."
Maybe this whole bath thing was a bad idea, but I know she's got to be feeling as grungy as I am by now.
"Maybe this was a bad idea," I say when she's finally seated back down on one of the blankets. "I don't think you've healed enough just yet."
"Spence," Ashley sighs. "I've been bathing myself since I was five. I think I can manage."
Hellooo other side of Ashley.
Yeah, she's got that soft, sweet and unbelievably romantic side...but challenge her once about her own abilities and she'll turn 'I am Ashley Davies. I don't need you for a damn thing' on you in a second.
"Right, of course you can. Sorry," I say and start to back away. This side of Ashley really needs her space and I'm gonna give her every inch of it.
"Spence, wait," Ashley protests with a gentle hand on my arm. "I'm...sorry," she adds with a sigh. "This whole thing just makes me..." She sighs and drops her hand to her side. She looks off into the distance silently.
I just sit and stare at her for a moment. I can see the slump in her shoulders and the slight shake that runs through her body.
I guess it's really not her fault. Well, not all her fault.
I mean, to be fair, she is a hard core, kick-ass rock star that's been on her own since her father died that has abruptly suffered a somewhat debilitating injury that has left her suddenly and overwhelmingly dependant on others.
I'm sure that more than sucks.
So, I guess I could be a little more understanding and not take it so personal when the slightest bit of that frustration leaks out.
I mean, she did get that debilitating injury while saving my life.
That kinda entitles her to a little...understanding.
"Ash," I call out to her softly. I wait until her eyes meet mine before giving her a gentle smile. "It's okay. I understand." I reach over and push some wild strands of hair back from her eyes. "I know it's gotta be tough, but you can lean on me. I don't mind. Really."
The scared look in her eyes slowly vanishes and I can see all the tension just disappear from her body. "I know," she finally answers in a choked whisper. "I know I can lean on you, Spencer...and I can't even begin to tell you what that means to me."
I place my palm against her cheek. "You don't have to."
Our eyes lock and our breathing is slow and steady.
I'm suddenly overwhelmed with the sensation of a pounding heart.
I'm just not sure whose it is.
"So," Ashley breaks the silence with a choked whisper. "About those baths..."
That was intense.
That was way more than intense.
That was...something that I don't even have a word for.
After we shared that moment, Ashley assured me that she could handle a bath on her own.
I offered to help her out of her clothes, and after nearly blushing myself to death and a warranted chuckle from Ashley, I went to the other side of the waterfall and washed up as best as I could.
Ashley finished right around the time I did and I thank whoever or whatever is up there that she had all her clothes back on before I made it back over.
I'm not sure how much good it did. The water was kinda cold and I'm not sure if that soap worked.
I certainly feel better and I'm sure I smell better too.
So does Ashley.
God...so does Ashley.
She managed to get all the sand and dried blood out of her hair and off her skin. I thought that was what was giving her skin that tint, but now I can clearly see that it's just her.
Her skin is just that perfect.
From the way she keeps leaning in and taking a deep breaths, I'm pretty sure she thinks I smell better too.
"You smell good," Ashley says, leaning further into me.
There's the side of Ashley that I...
"And it's makin' me hungry."
Okay. Wasn't expecting that.
"Umm...I t-think the others are gonna round up some breakfast...soon."
"Good, cause I'm kick-ass starved," Ashley groans.
Yeah. Me too.
So, we got breakfast.
It wasn't as bad today. I think Blake, or Jake, or Jeff or somebody managed to chase down a rabbit or a pig, or a duck, or...something.
I didn't really care what it was.
It was damn good, and that's all that mattered.
I think Ashley thought so too because she offered everybody a special thanks in her next album if they would give up their piece.
Needless to say, it didn't take much convincing, but unfortunately, not a one of them realized that she didn't even ask their name.
I smile and shake my head as I watch her from across the fire pit. She's hungrily munching down on her plate full of meat.
My girl can be bad when she wants to.
Did I really just think that?
And did my heart really just flutter at the thought?
Ashley suddenly looks up from her food and gives me a big grin. She offers the plate towards me and I somehow manage to shake my head. She gives me one more smile before going back to eating.
She really is shameless when it comes to her food. I just can't figure out how she eats so much and still somehow manages to keep that perfect body.
I remember one of her interviews a while back. I think it was MTV or VH1 or something like that, but the point is that I remember them asking her about her favorite things to do.
Singing and writing songs were the obvious answers, but then she got that devious little half-grin on her face. She turned her head just slightly against the camera and said 'eating a feast big enough for an army' and 'then working it off afterwards'.
I'll never forget the look on her face when she said that. That night was the first time I heard that husky chuckle of hers too.
After knowing what I know now, there's only one reason she chuckles like that.
Yeah. I bet I know just how she worked it off too.
And with who.
I think I remember reading somewhere that her girlfriend at the time declined to be present at the interview, but answered a few questions later.
Rachel Jeffries. That was her name. I think she's some big soap opera actress or something, but I know for sure that she's beautiful.
Drop dead gorgeous kinda beautiful.
It's not that she didn't want their relationship known, but you know how those things get all blown out of proportion.
She was Ashley's broken heart.
I guess the prying eyes and constant judgments finally got the better of her and she just decided that it wasn't worth it anymore.
She just up and left right in the middle of one of the biggest tours in Ashley's career. She was scheduled to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The place where her father became famous.
It was the most crucial and important night of her life and that bitch chose that exact night to walk out on her without so much as a good-bye.
Ashley was so heart broken that she had to cancel the show and she's never been back since.
I think Rachel married one of her co-stars and has a kid or something.
Yeah. That's not gonna end bad at all.
I look up at the sound of my name to see Ashley standing over me with a slightly worried smile. "I've been calling your name for like the last five minutes. Are you okay?"
I smile and nod. "Perfect."
Ashley shakes her head with a smile and sits down on the log next to me. She leans back and lets out a belch. "Man, I'm stuffed."
"Ugh," I groan and push her away with my elbow. I turn to face her with a teasing smile. "Did you have to do that?"
Ashley pats her stomach and grins. "Yep."
It's hard to believe that someone that can look so beautiful can be such a gross ass sometimes.
Yeah, but she's my beautiful gross ass.
Well, that made a lot more sense in my head, but you get the point.
I laugh and shake my head before turning to stare out into the ocean. It really is beautiful this time a day. The water is so clear and just the sound of the waves slapping against the shore...
"Would you go out with me tonight?"
My head snaps around so fast, I think I might've pulled something. My eyes meet Ashley's and she just smiles back at me. When I don't answer, she swallows back and asks again. "Would you?"
"D'uh...umm...l-like on a...date?"
Ashley nods with that same soft smile. "Yeah. Like on a date."
Umm...she does realize we're stranded on a deserted island...right?
"I know what you're thinking," Ashley breaks in when I don't answer right away. "But just because we're stuck here doesn't mean we can't have the most perfect night. As long as you're with me, Spencer. That's all the perfection I need."
How can I possibly say no after that?
"Okay," I finally answer with what I'm sure is the stupidest grin on my face.
Ashley's smile widens and she leans in to place a kiss against my temple. She pulls away just enough to whisper into my ear, "I promise, you won't regret it."
I'm still not sure how she's gonna pull it off, but knowing Ashley, she's probably already got it all planned out.
I feel her arm wrap around my waist from behind and then I'm being pulled tighter against her.
I close my eyes and revel in the sensation.
I suddenly can't wait until tonight.
This is it.
This is the moment that I've been waiting for all day.
I've been sitting here on this log for the last hour waiting for Ashley. She inisisted that we make this as much of a date as possible given our limited situation.
That being stranded on a deserted island in the middle of who knows where with nothing but a bunch of sand and water.
So, like the true romantic that she is, Ashley insisted that I wait here by the fire pit so that she could 'pick me up' just like she would if she had to drive over to my house. She had that sneaky little smile on her face and I just know how she thinks.
That's why I'm a little nervous.
Well, that and the fact that this is our first date. It just so happens to also be my first date with another woman and the only other person I've ever dated besides Aiden.
You have no idea.
I hear the sound of approaching footsteps from behind so I pull my eyes from the fire just in time to see a sudden flash of blue cloud my vision.
Once my eyes are able to adjust, I see the most beautiful flower right before me. I follow it from the tip to the stem and up a perfectly tanned arm before finally settling on a familiar face.
It brings a warm smile to my lips.
"Ash," I say in a breath and take the flower. "You didn't have to."
Ashley smiles that smile at me and I feel that familiar deep shiver run up the back of my spine.
Ashley extends her hand out to me and with a heavy chest, I reach up and take it. She gives me that smile and I feel her thumb rubbing softly at the back of my hand. "It reminded me of your eyes."
It's going to be one of those nights.
Y'know...the ones where Ashley lays it on real good and thick and it takes every ounce of my self-control not to just scream like a raving cavewoman and jump her right there on the spot.
So basically every night since we got stuck on this damn island.
If I didn't have Ashley, I think I woulda pulled a Tom Hanks a long time ago.
I feel Ashley squeeze my hand just hard enough to get my attention. It works and I look back up into her eyes.
"You spaced out on me there," Ashley says with that chuckle. "It looked like you were gettin' pretty deep with it too."
I just smile and shake my head with a sigh. "Just...thinking."
"Yeah," Ashley returns with a sigh of her own. "You seem to do that a lot."
I look up at her sharply and I can't help but smile at the look that suddenly springs up onto her face. "Uhh...I mean...t-that, well...not that it's a b-bad thing. I l-love a woman with a sharp...mind." She stops and lets out a slow breath. "Did I just totally fuck up this insanely important first date?"
A soft laugh breaks its way through my lips. "No. You didn't." I reach up with my free arm and run my fingers along the length of her bicep. "Just relax, Ashley. I don't even care what we do tonight. As long as I'm with you, it doesn't matter."
Ashley leans into me and I feel her warm breath against my hair. I feel my eyes slip closed before I can stop them.
She lets out a slow gentle breath. "I don't know what I ever did to deserve you," I hear her whisper into my ear. "But I'm sure glad I did it."
At least give me a fighting chance at making it through the whole night without confessing my undying love for you and throwing myself at you like some shameless lesbian slut.
Did I really just think that?
Does this mean...am I...do I really feel like I'm a...
"Here we are," Ashley suddenly says softly which manages to stop that thought train right in its tracks.
I can't say I'm not happy.
I don't even want to think about what this all means. What these feelings that I'm having for Ashley means.
I know what my mother would think and I know how I was raised...but I still can't help but wonder how something that feels so incredibly right could be so wrong.
I feel Ashley release my hand with a gentle squeeze. I'm once again pulled out of my thoughts when I look up at the scene before me.
It takes my breath away.
There is a blanket spread out on the sand. Next to it is a small fire just big enough to light up the blanket. On the blanket there are a few make-shift plates set up in the middle with various fruits on them. Right in the middle of them sits a container of water and two glasses made of coconut shells.
I someow manage to pull my eyes away to look up into Ashley's eyes. She's doing that shifty thing that she does when she's nervous.
"I...I know it's not Catilini's and I know it's not the Ritz, but..." Ashley's eyes shift over to the blanket and then back to mine. "I hope it's all right."
I'm speechless for what seems like a lifetime before I finally manage to make some sort of sound come out of my mouth. "No, Ash. It's...it's beautiful."
A soft smile spreads across her lips. "No, you're beautiful." She nods over her shoulder. "That's just dinner." Her smile slowly turns into a smirk.
Only Ashley could make a smart ass remark like that sound so sexy.
"Well, whatever it is," I smile and lean into her. "I love it."
Ashley's smirk turns into a grin and she leans forward to place the softest of kisses upon my lips.
Mmm. I could get use to this.
The contact is lost all too soon when she pulls back and grabs me by the hand, yanking me towards the blanket.
"If you didn't already hate coconuts, bananas, and pineapples, you will after tonight," Ashley chuckles to herself as she kneels down on the blanket and pulls me down after her. "I tried to go all 'Xena' on some fish, but the little bastards kept gettin' away."
I look up at her with a raised brow and a barely contained laugh. "You tried to catch them with your bare hands?" I watch as she absently nods. "You do realize that's what we've been using the fishing poles for...right?"
Ashley looks up at me with that patented smirk. "Where's the fun in that?"
I just shake my head and reach down for the plate nearest to me.
"No," Ashley suddenly stops me. I jerk my hand back and she reaches across the blanket to push the other plate towards me. "That one's for dessert."
I look down at the new plate in front of me. "Ash," I say a little confused. "This one has the exact same thing."
I look up at her to see her smiling around a piece of pineapple. "Just...trust me," she mumbles around her mouth full. "You wanna save that one for last."
I'm not too sure I like the way that sounds, and judging from the smile that apparently won't leave Ashley's face...I think I'm right.
Ashley reaches over and pours us both a cup of the water. She extends one out to me and downs hers in one gulp. I take the water and lift the cup to take a drink. The after taste of coconut lingers on my lips.
"Guess that's the downside to recycled cups," Ashley smiles as she places her cup on the blanket. "But it was the best I could do. Y'know, being stranded on a deserted island and all."
That smile just seems to be stuck on her lips tonight.
I give her my best smile even though I'm shaking on the inside. "It's great, Ash. Really." I lift a piece of banana to my lips. "I love bananas. See?" I swallow the whole piece in one bite.
Well now. That wasn't such a good idea.
I didn't know banana could burn like that.
"Tastes like...chocolate," I can barely force out as I reach down to get some more of that coconut water.
Acid bananas and coconut water.
You know, it sounds better than it actually tastes, but I know that it's the best Ashley could do and just the thought that she even went through the trouble makes it taste like the best meal I've ever had.
It's not long before all of the fruit and most of the water is gone. I could tell that Ashley was struggling through it as much as I was, but she didn't want to ruin the night.
She's thoughtful like that.
"So," Ashley sighs and stretches out on the blanket. She leans back on her elbows next to me and I feel the tips of her curls brush against my hand. I get the sudden impulse to run my fingers through her hair.
So I do.
She turns her head to look up at me with the softest smile. "I love it when you do that," she admits softly.
I smile back at her just as softly. "I love it when I do it too."
We just sit here, staring back into each other's eyes. I can feel the pull forcing me towards her and just before our lips meet, Ashley suddenly pulls back. "Eat your dessert."
What? But...but I thought...
I don't wanna eat my dessert.
"What? I thought we were..."
"Just," Ashley cuts me off with a small sigh. "Eat your dessert." She reaches over and pulls the plate in front of me. She glances down at it and then back up to me.
That smile is back again.
That one that tells me there's something serious going on behind those beautiful brown eyes of hers.
I glance down at the plate. It's only got three pieces of fruit on it and they're all circled right in the middle. Curiosity gets the better of me and I reach down to remove each one.
When I pull the last one away, I notice something laying at the bottom of the make-shift plate. It looks like two pieces of intertwined vines woven into the shape of a ring. One of the sides reminds me of Ashley's eyes and the other is a dirty sandy white.
I reach down and pick up the ring, holding it between my fingers as I bring it to my face for a closer look.
"I know it's completely cheesy and so not a first date move," Ashley starts to explain as she reaches over to lower my hand so she can see my face. She keeps my hand resting gently in hers. "I just really wanted something to remember this night by. To remember you by."
My eyes are suddenly drawn to her right hand. There on her middle finger is a matching ring to the one I'm holding in my hand. Strange. I didn't notice it there before.
The implications of what all this means suddenly come crashing down on me full force.
My eyes drift up to meet Ashley's. For the longest moment, I just sit here staring back into her eyes and clutching the ring between our hands.
What the hell am I supposed to do now?
On the one hand, I don't want to misjudge the gesture and over-react by thinking that this means more than what she's implying, but then on the other hand I don't want to downplay it either in case she does mean more than she means to imply and I just insult her by not implying that she means more than she means to imply for me to mean.
"Umm," I start, swallowing back. "Ash, I..."
Ashley shakes her head and squeezes my hand gently. "You don't have to say anything. It wasn't fair of me to just throw this at you. Especially not like this." She pulls back from me and lets out a sigh as she sits up and runs her fingers back through her hair.
She pulls her hand away and stares down at the ring on her finger. "I just...well, I don't have a camera and there's really not much else that I could think of to capture this moment in time." She looks over at me and nods to the ring in my hand. "This was the best I could come up with." She smiles softly. "It really does remind me of your hair. I couldn't find anything blue enough to do your eyes justice." She lets out a slow and steady sigh. "I just...I had to have something solid to remind me of this feeling."
The back of my throat has suddenly gone dry. "W-What feeling is that?"
Ashley stares back at me for the lonest moment. Everything else just seems to fade away as I once again fall so deeply into those eyes.
"The only feeling you make me feel," Ashley finally answers in choked whisper. "Love."
"Ashley," I whisper as I reach over to pull her to me. Our lips meet and nothing else matters. I somehow manage to force myself to pull back. I rest my forehead against hers and breathe into her mouth. "I've...I've never felt this way about another person either." I know I've already told her, but for some reason it seems so much harder in this moment.
Maybe because if I say it again...then it'll really make it real.
And yet...I can't think of anything else I'd rather say.
"I love you too, Ash," I whisper against her lips. A very nerve racking moment passes, but I finally feel her smile against my lips. She reaches up and tangles her right hand in my hair and reaches down to brace herself against my hip with the other.
Before I know it, her lips are back on mine and a very audible moan escapes from my throat.
Ashley must feel it too because not long after, I hear her let out one of her own.
She's kissing me so hard and so good that the rest of my body suddenly feels as though it's turned to mush. There's only one way for me to go.
I release all the tension in my body and I'm soon laying flat on my back with Ashley on top of me. Something in the back of my mind screams at me that she's hurt, that we can't do this...but right now...all I'm thinking is Ashley lips on Spencer lips and how amazingly good it feels to have the weight of her body on mine.
I feel Ashley's hand gripping onto the material of my shirt. She's moaning into my mouth and suddenly my skin has become inflamed with the heat of hers.
I somehow manage to pull my mouth away from hers. "Ashley," I pant, trying to catch my breath. "What are we...doing?"
Ashley is breathing just as hard as I am. Her eyes have taken on a glow that I don't think I've ever seen in another person.
I can feel how much she needs me. How much she wants me.
It scares the hell out of me and arouses me all at once.
I've never wanted another person as much as I want Ashley.
"What do you want us to do, Spencer?" Ashley finally answers.
I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't that.
I'm not sure I even know.
"It's okay," Ashley soothes me in that husky voice. She leans down to give me another slow, passionate kiss. When she pulls away, it takes me a moment to force my eyes open again.
I look up to see her smiling down at me. "You don't have to say anything, and we won't do anything that you don't want to." I feel her hand flex against my side and her fingers are running through my hair so softly. "We can stop now if you want."
My only answer is to reach up and grab Ashley by the back of the neck, pulling her lips crashing back down into mine.
I never thought that it was humanly possible to feel this way.
I never knew that the human body was capable of feeling such deep, intense emotions so overwhelming that you think you just might burn up from the inside out.
That's the way I feel right now.
That's the way that Ashley is making me feel right now. She hasn't stopped kissing me since I pulled her lips back down on mine. Not once did she hesitate or even think to question it. She just kissed me back.
That was fine until she had to go and bring her hands into it.
Ashley's hands are a mystery to me. They are so soft and so gentle, and yet I can still feel the callouses on her hands from the many years of playing her guitar.
I feel her slip the right one just up under the edge of my shirt. She's running her fingertips over my ribs and my scalp starts to prickle. I feel the goose bumps rise in the wake of her gentle caresses and I don't think I can take much more of this.
"Ashley," I breathe between kisses and hope that she can hear me over both our moaning and panting. After one last gentle caress of her lips against mine, she finally pulls back just enough to look down into my eyes.
It takes me a moment to catch my breath. "I...we...h-have to stop now or I...I'm sorry."
Ashley gently shakes her head. "Don't be." She places her hands on either side of me and pushes herself up. I can see the wince on her face as she moves from over me.
I reach up as quickly as I can make my brain function enough to tell my arm to move. I place my hand on the small of her back to impede any further movement. She stops and gazes down at me confused.
"I like the way you feel on me," I answer in a whisper.
I watch as a myriad of emotions passes through her eyes before they finally settle on gentle gaze. She slowly and carefully lowers her body back down onto mine. Another wince passes over her face.
"Does it hurt?" I ask concerned. Ashley lets out a slow breath and shakes her head just slightly. She braces her arms against the blanket on either side of me to hold herself up.
I apply just the smallest amount of pressure against her back with my hand.
"It's okay," I tell her softly. "I'm not glass."
Ashley stares down into my eyes and shifts her legs against mine. "I just don't want to hurt you. This wound has been making me feel like dead weight lately and I don't want to put all that on you."
I push more forcefully against her back this time until her body is resting fully on mine. "You won't and I want you to. I told you, I'm here to take care of you."
Ashley sighs softly. "You don't have to."
I can't...how can she even think that?
"How many times do we have to go over this?" I ask with a sigh of my own. I pull my hand from her back and poke her in the chest lightly. I give her my best playful smile. "You saved my life," I say with a poke to emphasize each word. "Therefore...I am eternally indebted to you."
For the first time in a while, that smile returns to Ashley's face. "Eternally indebted," she repeats in a haughty tone. "I like the way that sounds."
I give her a hard poke in the shoulder and roll my eyes. "Way to kill the mood, Casanova."
"Mood?" Ashley repeats this time with a slightly furrowed brow. "I didn't know there was a mood to be killed. Wait...was it a sexy mood?"
As cute and kick-ass as she is, she sure can be dense sometimes.
"If you couldn't tell by that kiss," I say with a light smirk. "Maybe it's a good thing that we stopped when we did."
Ashley's eyes suddenly widen. "What?! I mean, no! I mean...I so knew it was a sexy mood, and that kiss...whew," she finishes with a light shake of her head.
Judging from the sudden change in looks on her face, I think she can tell that I'm just not buyin' it.
Ashley gives me what has to be the cutest little pout I have ever seen. "Any chance I can get us back into that sexy mood any time soon?"
As much as I hate to admit it, neither one of us is in any shape for that.
I reach down with my other hand and give her side a light poke. She cringes and shrinks away from my hand in pain.
"That answer your question?"
For a long moment, Ashley just stares down at me. I watch as the movement of her eyes trail lazily from my lips to my eyes and then back again.
I can see the flames from the fire dancing across the skin of her face. I can feel it's warmth against my side and judging from the light sheen of sweat on her brow, she can too.
"I...I don't know if I can."
I furrow my brow, not quite understanding what she means. "You can't what, Ash?"
Ashley stares down at me for a long moment before finally averting her eyes with a slow sigh. "Stop," she finally whispers.
"Stop what, Ash?"
"No," she answers, shaking her head. She pulls her eyes back up to meet mine and I can see the struggle raging on behind them. "I don't know if I can...stop."
"I don't think I can control myself this time," Ashley interrupts before I can finish. "I don't think I can keep going through this every time with you, Spencer. I can't keep kissing you and touching you and then all of a sudden just have to stop because my fucking side is hurt and you don't want to hurt me and I don't want you to hurt for hurting me and it all just...sucks."
Ashley has this intense fire burning in her eyes and I'm not talking about the one beside us. I've never seen her eyes take on such a hue and I've never seen her jaw tight with such frustration.
Frustrated Ashley is hot.
"O-okay," I answer in a tiny whisper. I don't want to upset her anymore than she already is.
Ashley must have heard the tremble in my voice because all signs of her frustration instantly vanish from her face. "Oh, no," she quickly soothes me with a gentle rubbing of my side. "I didn't mean you. It's not your fault, Spencer. It's me. I'm the one who can't control my libido. Please, don't be upset."
After all that, she's worried about me being upset?
"Would you stop that?" I snap back. Now it's my turn to be frustrated.
"I'm tired of you treating me like I'm glass, and I'm tired of you apologizing for everything you say to me." I let out a sigh of frustration. "You're not perfect Ashley. You don't have to be. You're allowed to be pissed off every now and then and you're certainly allowed to show it when you are. You don't have to act like the perfect gentle...woman around me all the time." I pause and wait to see if any of this is sinking in. "It hurts me more when you treat me like I'm some super sensitive little house wife who can't handle the cold hard truth. If I'm going to be with you, then you have to treat me as your equal and stop trying to protect me from everything, especially you."
Ashley doesn't answer right away and I'm a little scared that maybe I went too far.
"You want to be with me?" she finally asks in a soft whisper.
Figures that'd be the one thing she heard out of all that.
"Yes," I answer instantly. "Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you love someone and they love you?"
A slow smile creeps back over Ashley's lips. "I'm not easy to be with. I'm loud, I'm obnoxious, I'm pretty immature, I stay up really late and I sleep in even later. I'm never home and when I am, I'm usually not very sociable. I can be pretty demanding when I want to and I'm super jealous."
She pauses and sighs, the smile now gone from her face. "We'll never have any privacy. Our sex life with constantly be the center of attention and you'll never be able to go outside without someone flashing a camera in your face."
Ashley stops and her eyes lock onto mine. "I have everything, Spencer. I'm successful, I'm rich, and there's no doubt that I could take care of you for the rest of your life." I can see the unshed tears spring up into her eyes. "But I'll never be able to give you all the things that matter. We'll never be able to get married and settle down in a quiet little town. I'll never be able to give you children and build our lives as a family. I'll never be able to give you all the things that you want...that you deserve."
I...I had no idea.
She never let on that she was thinking about any of this. I really had no idea that she planned that far ahead, but I guess I'm glad one of us did.
But to be honest, none of that matters. Not one word of it, because at the end of the day, I love her and she loves me.
And that is what matters.
"Ashley," I say calmly. "A part of me wants to be mad at you for waiting until now to tell me all this." She gets a scared looked in her eyes, but I quickly shake my head. "But the bigger part of me aches that you've held it all inside for this long." I reach up and cup her cheek in my palm. "You are all that matters to me. Not the money, not the fame, not the job...you. I don't care what our life will be like. I don't care that we'll be on the front of every tabloid and I don't care what they'll say about us."
I give her my softest smile. "All I care about is you, and the fact that you love me as much as I love you. As long as we're together, that's all that matters to me." My tone takes on just the slightest bit of teasing. "Besides, who says you can't give me all those other things, hmm? It is the 21st century you know."
"You'd want to constantly be the talk of every late night show and every tabloid from L.A. to New York?"
Now, Ashley's not be conceited. The daughter of Raife Davies was the hottest topic on every show and in every magazine long before she became the huge super star that she is.
No, she's just being honest.
"And would you really want to put our kids through that? Haven't you learned anything from TomKat?" she asks before I can answer.
Okay. Tell me she just didn't say that.
"I can't believe you just said 'TomKat'," I giggle to myself.
It's a nice break from all of this seriousness.
"What?" Ashley chuckles. "I'm not allowed to know stuff about other celebrities? You do know that it's just a myth that the only thing we read about is ourselves. I mean, we have to have something to use against each other at those after show parties."
"I still can't believe you just said TomKat." I can't control my giggle as it suddenly bursts into a full blown laugh.
Ashley chuckles deep in the back of her throat. "That's right, laugh it up Carlin. You just wait 'til you see what they come up with for us."
My laughing stops instantly.
I guess I really haven't thought about how drastically my life is going to change if I do become Ashley's girlfriend.
I mean, it's bad enough that I'm sure my mother is going to have a heart attack and die on the spot, but I guess I wasn't thinking about what it would really mean to be the girlfriend of such a huge rock star.
I know I've said it before, but am I really willing to give up my life to be with her?
I feel Ashley exhale against my face and the warmth of her breath sends a shiver right down to the depths of my stomach. I look back up into her eyes and suddenly nothing else matters to me.
Not the past, not the future, not anything but her.
I tired of waiting.
I want her, and I want her now.
"Screw it," I snarl out huskily. My hand slides up and wraps tightly in her hair. My other hand brushes against the wound on her side before once again settling in the small of her back. "We'll just work around it."
Before Ashley has a chance to respond, I pull her lips down onto mine and kiss her with everything I'm feeling.
A long, passionate kiss later, she breaks away panting. "Sp...Spencer?"
I just shake my head and pull her back towards me. "I can't stop either," I answer back. "I want you now. I wanna feel you inside me. I wanna feel you take me over completely until I can think about anything or anyone but you."
You think she gets the point?
"Uhh...umm...I-I...ahh..." Ashley swallows back and struggles to regain her breathing.
I remove my hand from her back and blindly reach down in search of hers. I finally feel the backs of her fingers and I pull them up before slipping her hand down between our bodies.
I moan out at the contact of her hand against me.
Ashley's eyes slip closed and I hear the slow and steady grown emit from the back of her throat.
"Touch me," I whisper, leaning up to nip at her ear. "Make love to me, Ashley."
I watch her eyes slowly open and she sucks in an unsteady breath. "Are you sure?" she asks in a shaky whisper. "'Cuz if we do this, Spence, there ain't no goin' back. Not for me."
I've never been more sure of anything in my life.
"Yes," I answer in a whisper of my own. "Yes."
I can't tell if it's the heat from the fire or the heat being created between our bodies, but the moment Ashley's hand squeezes against me, I feel as though I just may burn up from the inside out.
I've never been so aroused in my life.
I can't believe it.
This is it.
Ashley and I are finally going to make love.
You know how sometimes in your life when you experience something for the first time, you are so sure that it has to be the best feeling you've ever had?
Well, I can honestly tell you now that so does NOT apply to sex.
I don't want to seem like the bitter ex-wife who's only lashing out because her husband left her for the younger, prettier secretary, but I have to say that no sex wtih Aiden ever felt like this.
After I pulled Ashley back into that kiss, it didn't take long for her to kiss me back with just as much passion.
But unfortunately, that's as far as she's gone.
It almost feels like she's afraid or something. I can feel the tremble in her hand when she runs it down my side to rest it on my hip. Her other is running through my hair as she holds me against her in the kiss.
I have to admit, I'm scared as hell too.
I have no idea what I'm doing.
Things were so much easier with Aiden. All I had to do was lay there and make a few choice sounds every now and then and just hope that it was over soon.
Now it seems that I can't keep from making those sounds and I think I'll die if she stops now.
I feel Ashley pull away from the kiss. The warmth of her lips is suddenly ripped away from mine and it leaves them painfully aching for more.
"Sp...Spencer?" Her whispered plea barely registers in my brain and I somehow force my eyes to open. I can feel her heavy breaths against my chest as she struggles to catch her breath above me.
I'm looking up into her eyes and for the first time in my life, I feel as though the desire is going to burn me up from the inside out.
Ashley's quiet for a moment as she struggles to regain some sort of control over her breathing.
"Are...are you s-sure you w...want me...to?"
I don't know whether to kiss her for being so sweet or smack her for being so stupid.
If she asks me that one...more...time...
Well, I guess if she won't believe what she hears...
...maybe she'll believe what she feels.
I reach down in search of her hand. It doesn't take long before I feel the warmth of her skin beneath my fingers. I wrap my hand around hers in a gentle, but firm grip and guide it up the side of my body.
I keep my eyes locked with hers.
We both let out a low moan when her hand comes into contact with my breast.
There is only the thin layer of my shirt separating her flesh from mine, but it's enough to drive us both crazy with the need for it to be gone.
Ashley must've caught on quickly.
I feel her other hand slide up my other side, only this time she takes my shirt with it.
The feel of her fingertips against my skin is almost more than I can take.
I feel the moan slipping out from deep in my chest before I can stop it.
Ashley releases a breath against my face and her hand squeezes just slightly. She leans down to touch our lips in a light, but passionate kiss and I find my own hands trailing up her sides underneath her shirt.
Her skin is hot against my fingers and I can feel her suck in a breath when I run them down her sides.
Ashley suddenly pulls back from the kiss, her breathing hot and laboured against my face. "S-Spencer...I..." She stops and gazes down into my eyes for what seems like an eternity.
I feel her eyes burn right into my heart.
It starts to beat rapidly in my chest.
"Spencer," she says again in a calm whisper. "I wanna make love to you."
I've never heard words so sweet.
I lean up and place the softest kiss against her lips. I pull back just enough to whisper against her mouth, "It's okay. I want you to."
For a moment, she just stares back down into my eyes. She's looking at me as though she can't believe what I just said.
Then she gives me the softest smile I've ever seen.
"I love you, Spencer," she breathes. "I'm in love with you."
I just want to pinch myself.
There's no way this is real. It can't be.
No one is supposed to be able to make me feel like this. I can't even describe it and I sure as hell don't know what I ever did to deserve it.
"Ashley..." That's all I can say. I don't think I can form another coherent thought to say what it is she makes me feel.
But I do know one thing.
If she doesn't touch me soon...
I may just die.
Right here on this blanket in the sand with her on top of me.
On second thought, that's really not a bad way to go.
"What are you smiling at?" Ashley asks me with a light chuckle.
"Nothing," I answer with a light shake of my head.
We lay here for a minute just staring up into each other's eyes. I can feel her running her fingers through my hair, the tips brushing against my scalp softly.
It sends a shiver down my spine to settle right between my legs.
I've never been so turned on by such a simple touch.
Until now, I wasn't even aware that my body could be this aroused.
If I woulda known that it was this good...I'd have given up that crazy hetero life style a long time ago.
Straight girls don't know what they're missing.
Ashley's hands are so soft. Much softer than Aiden's ever were. Her motions are gentle and passionate, but the touch of her hands set me ablaze like nothing before.
"Spence? You still with me?" Ashley asks softly.
I give her my softest smile and a light nod in answer.
Ashley's eyes study my face for a moment. "What's goin' on in that beautiful head of yours, hmm?"
I just shake my head and sigh. "It doesn't matter." I place my hands on the small of her back and pull her gently, but forcefully against me. "Please, Ashley...I can't wait any longer."
She must have finally taken the hint, because I feel her left hand slide down my side to rest on my leg. The heat from her hand soaks right though the denim of my jeans.
I can't take it.
Moaning, I reach down between our bodies, pushing hers up just slightly to grab the button on my jeans. With a quick flick my pants fall open and I find myself blindly reaching over for her hand.
The next thing I know, Ashley's hand is in my pants.
The move must have surprised her just as much as it did me because I hear her suck in a sudden intake a of breath before letting it out with a deep moan.
That's the idea.
She leans down to kiss me and I feel her other hand sliding up my side. This time, it runs underneath my shirt and her hand makes full on contact with my skin. It only stops when she reaches the bottom of my bra, but that barricade doesn't last long before I feel her fingers slip underneath.
My eyes are roughly forced open when Ashley pulls back out of the kiss to stare down at me with a gaze deep enough to devour me whole.
Then her fingers start up a rhythm.
Slow, steady and unbelievable.
I'm torn between the sensations in the two different places.
It's like she knows exactly how I want to be touched.
Exactly where I want to be touched.
I force my eyes open with a moan. When my vision finally comes back into focus, I'm met with deep brown eyes and a look of pure desire.
"Yes," I whisper.
She doesn't have to say anything. I know what she's asking.
Then I feel her slowly and gently slip inside of me and my whole world goes into a complete tailspin.
By eyes close and my head falls back onto the blanket. My back arches and my thighs clench around her hand.
I'm so distracted by the feeling, that I don't even notice when she pushes my shirt and bra out of the way.
Then I feel the cold night air come into contact with my highly sensitive nipple and it causes a gasp to launch forth from my lips.
The coldness is quickly replaced by heat when I feel the warm wetness of Ashley's mouth cover my nipple.
My hands find their way into the silky softness of her hair and my fingers start raking through the curls.
I feel it start in the pit of my stomach.
That deep, aching burn that feels as though it'll burst right through you.
If she would just...
I feel Ashley's lips pull away from my breast and for a moment, I almost want to scream out in protest...but then I feel her lips on my stomach.
Then they start to move lower.
My right hand stays firmly attached to Ashley's hair, but my other flies up to clutch at the blanket by my head. My eyes squeeze shut impossibly tighter and I feel the muscles in my whole body start to tighten.
Ashley slowly pulls my pants over my hips. My panties soon follow and now I'm naked from the waist down.
I feel her pull completely away from me and the sudden loss of contact sends a shock through my system. My eyes pop open and I look down to see that she's kneeling at my legs. She starts pulling off her own clothes, her eyes never leaving mine.
It's not long before she's back on me.
Her skin against mine.
She gives me a quick kiss that leaves me aching for more, but it more than makes up for it when she starts to kiss a trail down my body.
I suck in a breath when she enters me once again.
That breath threatens to burst out of my chest when I feel the first soft touch of her lips against my clit.
Sparks explode behind my eyes and my thighs clamp down against her head for just a second before relaxing again. I can feel the vibrations when she moans against my skin.
The hand next to my head clutches at the blanket frantically and my other finds its way back into her hair. I hold her against me when I feel it start to build.
I've had orgasms before. I'm not gonna lie.
They were few and mostly just enough to cause a flutter, but they were there.
This one feels like a fucking 9.0 on the Richter Scale.
I feel it burst inside of me.
It engulfs my insides like a raging inferno and I don't think I've ever felt something so unbelievably wonderful.
I feel it from the tip of my scalp to the very ends of my toes.
In all the commotion, I don't notice when Ashley works her way back up my body. I feel the warmth of her breathing against my face and it takes all my will power to force my eyes open.
"Hey," she whispers softly with a gentle smile.
I let out a shaky breath as I struggle to regain control. "That's...it?"
Ashley's brow furrows just slightly. "What?"
I take in a few deep breaths before replying. "You give me the most amazing orgasm of my life a-and all you have to say is...'Hey'?"
"Umm..." Ashley says, pretending to think. "I love you?" she adds with an innocent smile.
"You damn well better," I laugh.
The smile softens on her face and she reaches down to run her fingers through my hair.
"I do," she whispers. "I really do."
I give her my best smile and reach up to wrap my hand around the back of her neck. I pull her lips down onto mine and just before they touch, I whisper softly, "Me too."
It's been six months since we got off that island.
It's been six months since I found the love of my life and six months since my entire world was changed.
After that night that Ashley and I were first together, we seemed to be inseparable. Obviously, there was no need to "pretend" to be in love anymore.
We couldn't have if we tried. We were really and truly in love. There was nothing we could do to stop it or hide it. The others pretty much made themselves scarce when we were around. They didn't hassle and break their necks to be around Ashley anymore. She was all mine.
Not that I really blame them. I'm pretty sure the daily show was more than they bargained for.
Ashley was insatiable.
She couldn't keep her hands off of me during most of the day, and by the time night fell, she was literally dragging me off to some secluded part of the beach where she did things to me that I didn't even know was humanly possible.
Ashley never admitted it, but I don't think I satisfied her nearly as thoroughly as she did me.
I'm usually a pretty fast learner, but sex with Ashley was on a whole other level for me. I'd never made love to a woman before, and it's not exactly like my sex life before Ashley was really all that daring.
She taught me things I didn't even knew existed. She made me feel things I didn't even know I could.
The least I could do was the same for her.
Even now, Ashley never complains. Most of the time, our love making is slow, tender, and passionate, but sometimes...sometimes Ashley shows me how it means to really be alive. She is the most amazing and the only lover that I'll ever want.
I try to give her back what she gives me. I try to make her feel the things that she makes me feel, but I know it's not the same.
I'm okay with that.
I know she loves me and she knows that I am so in love with her.
After all, there's more to loving somebody besides great sex. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty important part of our relationship, but it's not the glue that holds us together.
I still don't know what I ever did in my life to deserve her.
I guess by now you're wondering how we got off that island. Well, about three weeks after that night, luck would have it that some fisherman just happened to pass by. They were on one of those really big fishing boats and just so happened to be searching in the area when we spotted them.
We were all so caught off guard by it, that it took us a while to catch on and try to flag them down.
Blake and Mark swam out as far as they could and the rest of us screamed and jumped and made as much noise as we could.
An hour later, we were all aboard the ship and on our way back to civilization.
I can't tell you how amazing it felt to get a hot shower and a decent meal.
Of course, Ashley and I didn't even have a chance to adjust to being back home again before the streets were lined with cameras and shouting reporters. Her security did their best to keep them out of our faces, but the next day there were some rather interesting pictures posted all over the front page of various newspapers and tabloids.
The biggest story was about me.
Everybody wanted to know who the, quote: "new hot little blonde hanging off of Ashley Davies' arm and no doubt her wallet" was.
That was just...perfect.
Then there was no doubt that my family was going to find out a helluva lot sooner than I had planned.
My mother pretty much reacted just as I had expected.
I tried to delay it.
I tried to delay the inevitable fact that my mother would discover my relationship with Ashley and then damn me to Hell and curse the fact that she ever had such a sinful and deviant daughter.
I knew my mother had seen it.
I just knew it.
Sure enough, not two hours after the story aired, my mother was at the front steps of Ashley's L.A. mansion demanding to see her daughter.
Of course, Ashley tried to protect me by offering to have her shot on sight. I laughed at her attempt to make me feel better, but I decided that I'd rather face her sooner than later.
Paula Christine Carlin was not a happy woman.
And she let me know it.
She called me everything but a daughter that day before breaking down and screaming "How could you do this to me?" with tears in her eyes.
Of course, it was all about her.
I surprised even myself when I calmly told her that my love for Ashley had nothing to do with her or anybody else but me and Ashley, and that if she had a problem with that then she could just stick it.
The tears instantly stopped and she just gave me this look.
Like she couldn't believe I had stood up for myself and what I wanted for once in my life.
Eventually, she got over it.
I'd like to think it's because I'm her only daughter and that she loves me, but I know that it's only because of all the attention she got for being the mother of Ashley Davies' girlfriend. She did every interview offer from Oprah, to Montel, to Barbara.
You can't be picky about these kinds of things.
In this business, you have to take what you can get.
That's what she said to me. That's actually what she said to me.
I didn't care. I still don't.
I have Ashley and she's all that I could ever need for the rest of my life.
I'm so proud of her. She's been so nervous about tonight.
For the last two weeks, she's been sick with worry and she hasn't been sleeping all that much.
I've done what I can to help her. I've intercepted her messages, fended off the press, given her late night massages, and one time I even threw her manager out on his over-paid and cheap suited ass.
She fired him the next day. Thirty minutes later, she hired Francis Polene and her career has really taken off big time. She's getting way more offers for endorsements and her records are flying off the shelf with the amount of publicity and air time Francis has managed to get her.
Francis has kinda become like a mother to us. She's in her late forties, but her experience and her name has given her a real advantage in the business. She and her partner Anna have become the parents we never had.
My dad and my two brothers still stay in contact with me, but it's difficult to have much involvement with them out in public.
I knew that was the price that I was gonna have to pay to be with Ashley, but I don't mind all that much. She gives me everything I could possibly need or want.
Besides, we're kinda like our own little family. It's Ashley and me and Francis and Anna.
We couldn't be happier.
Loud cheering suddenly erupts from the monitor and it pulls me from my thoughts. I look up at the plasma screen hanging on the wall in front of me and I smile.
Ashley is performing at the Staples Center tonight.
Yeah. The Staples Center.
The place that made her father famous and the one place that she has never given a concert before. The one place that she's been so afraid of, and yet, I can't imagine why.
She's really hitting it out there and the fans love it.
The show sold out in just under two hours.
For the next three nights.
I smile as I watch her eyes sparkling in the lights. She's in her element and she's never been more beautiful.
"I'd really like to think you all for coming out to see me tonight."
The crowd erupts in cheers again.
"I can't tell you how it makes me feel to be standing on the very same stage that my father did, or to be playing on the very same night that made him famous so long ago."
I hadn't realized.
"I know that on this first night, we were only going to play some of his sets, but I wanted to share with you all something that is very special to me. It's a song that I wrote for the most important person in my life."
Ashley looks up directly into the monitor and smiles that ever soft smile.
"Spencer...would you please come out here, baby?"
My heart leaps in my chest like it does every time that she gives me that smile. I can't fight the same smile that plasters itself across my face. I look up at Francis to see her smiling down at me.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Go!" she laughs and pushes me towards the door.
I feel my heart beating in my ears as I step through the door and start to climb the stairs to the stage. As soon as the curtain is pushed aside, my eyes are nearly blinded by all the lights.
The crowd goes wild at my appearance and after all this time, I still haven't gotten use to it.
I really don't know how Ashley does it every night.
I look up and meet her eyes from the few feet away. She turns her head to the side and smiles as she speaks into the microphone.
"This is a song I wrote for the most important person in my life. For the only woman that I'll ever love until my dying day." She smiles at me. "This is for you, Spencer."
The crowd cheers, but soon dies down when the soft music begins to play.
Never thought I'd be feeling this way
I never even knew I could
I can't put it into words to say
What you make me feel I should
I can't imagine spending one day without you
And I don't wanna know what it's like to
I just wanna be with you
I know it's not always easy for me to say
Just wanna feel you through and through
And I may not tell you every day
But I hope you know you mean the world to me
Oh, baby...you set me free
Now that you're in me
I can't get you out
I could beg and plea
But honey, they're ain't no doubt
You're seeping through my veins
I'm nothin' but a prisoner to your loving chains
And I just wanna be with you
I know it's not always easy for me to say
Just wanna feel you through and through
And I may not tell you every day
But I hope you know you mean the world to me
Oh, baby...you set me free
Oh...you make me feel like I can take on anything
But I'm still so nervous standing here with this ring...
The music suddenly stops and a dead silence sweeps over the arena.
The heart that was beating so loudly in my chest has now taken permanent residence in my throat.
I watch mesmerized as Ashley pushes her guitar around to her back and reaches into her front jeans pocket.
Her hand soon emerges with a tiny black velvet box.
Now my heart has stopped beating all together.
I watch as she adjusts the microphone to slide down the pole and then she drops down to one knee. She opens the box before placing it on her lifted knee and pulling her guitar back to the front. She leans over to the microphone and a single guitar plays in the silence.
I promise to love you the rest of my life
You'd make me the happiest person alive...
If you'd be my wife...
Oh, baby...you set me free
Spencer, would you marry me?
The crowd erupts in cheers and Ashley once again pushes the guitar around to her back. She's still kneeled before me, but I can barely think much less move.
I can hear echoes of "Say yes!", "Do it!", and "That's so romantic!" float up from the audience.
My eyes fall to the diamond ring. It's frikken' HUGE.
I didn't even know they could get that big.
"Uh, Spence?" I hear Ashley's voice break in. I snap my eyes up to meet hers to see the nervous smile on her face. "It's only a two hour show."
I shake my head, trying to take in the last five minutes of my life.
What the hell am I supposed to say?
Ricky, the bass guitarist, walks up to me and hands me a mike. He gives me a wink and a smile before stepping back.
I very slowly lift the microphone to my lips and once again, the entire arena is silenced.
I meet Ashley's eyes and smile. "Yes."
The room erupts into cheers and whistles.
Ashley grabs the ring from her knee and then springs to her feet. She rushes over to me and sweeps me up into a tight embrace. She lifts me off my feet and twirls me around on stage much to the delight of her fans.
I pull back with what I'm sure is the biggest grin I've ever had. She returns it just as heartily before giving me a passionate kiss.
It makes the crowd go even crazier.
We finally break away and she sets me back down on my feet. She reaches down and pulls the ring from the box before slipping it onto my finger.
I look down at it and then back up into her eyes.
We're pulled back into another kiss as the crowd goes wild all around us.
I thank whatever force out there for putting me on that ship with Ashley, and I thank it for giving me the love of my life.
Not too long ago, I thought that I would be destined to spend the rest of my life alone and un-loved.
Now, my heart doesn't feel so deserted anymore.
In fact, it feels like it's right where it belongs.
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