DISCLAIMER: CSI New York and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement is intended. Eden Ashley is an original character. All mine.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To debrafitzakerley[at]yahoo.co.uk
Eden Ashley Chronicles
Ashley and Danny have been working on their case all day, and it doesn't look like they are going to get finished any time soon. She is currently in the lab analysing the murder weapon, and doesn't notice Stella stood in the doorway.
Stella is actually ready for home, finishing on time for once, she is just stopping by the lab to say goodbye to Eden, but can't help herself, when she sees her like this so engrossed in her work, she can't help but stop and stare, she loves these secret seconds she gets. After a while she decides she better say goodbye, or she could be here for hours.
Ashley is startled, but so glad to see Stella, this case is really taking it out of her, and she welcomes a few minutes break from it. She is actually feeling a little emotional, without saying anything, she pulls Stella into hug, and buries her head into the crook of her neck. Stella knows the case must be affecting her, and without question provides her the comfort she needs.
Ashley pulls back, and smiles, she knows that hug will get her through until the end of shift. "Thank you."
"No problem, anytime. You okay?" Stella is genuinely concerned.
"I am now." It hasn't escaped Ashley that Stella is all dressed ready to leave. "You heading home?"
"Yeah." Sadly, she was going to her own apartment, neither of them was sure what time Eden would get finished. "Gimme a call when you get done, if it's not too late I'll head over to yours."
With this Ashley leans in for a kiss, which Stella again provides without question. Its soft and lingering, neither of them wants it to end. But unfortunately inevitably, it does.
"Right I better get back to it, quicker I get it done, quicker I can get home."
"Yeah, don't forget to call. Seeya soon. Love you."
"Love you too."
Stella reluctantly walks out of the lab, and straight to the elevator, she really does hate having to go home alone. Thankfully it's not something she has t do often. She makes her way out of the elevator, and works her way out of the building until eventually she is in the street. It's quite chilly in New York this evening; she pulls her jacket up around her. She notices it's so cold she can see her own breath. She's brought from her thoughts when she hears someone call her name.
She turns around to see Jack Walker making his way towards her.
"Stella hey. Did you just get off shift?" She has to admit, she didn't think she would ever see him again after his reaction earlier in the day.
"Hi Jack, yeah I just got done."
"Cool. Listen, do you wanna grab something to eat, maybe a couple of drinks. I want to apologise for my behaviour earlier, it's just you shocked me." He can see Stella isn't sure she should take him up on his offer. "Come on give me a chance to make it up to you, I would like us to be friends."
What harm can it do? "Sure why not."
"Excellent, I know this great little place a five minute walk from here."
He gestures to his right and for Stella to follow. Which she does happily, at least now she won't have to sit at home alone all night waiting for Eden's call.
They have been sitting enjoying each other's company for around an hour now, they have eaten and are having a few drinks. Stella has actually had a really good night, and in the back of her mind she's thinking she's still really close to work, so when Eden calls her she will be able to just go an meet her. Result. On that particular subject, Jack hasn't actually mentioned Eden, as yet, but Stella can tell he is building up to it. In fact it looks as though the conversation is about to take an awkward turn any second now.
"So tell me about this girl." Jack smiles through gritted teeth as he looks over at Stella.
She is apprehensive. "Are you sure?"
Stella tries to think of a gentle way to explain to him what Eden means to her, without being too emphatic; she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. In the end she decides to explain it at simply as she can.
"She's the one." She can't help the smile that creeps onto her face, then remembers present company. "No-one was more surprised than me, that it was a woman. But, I dunno it's hard to explain, it's just her, when I met her I knew. She's the one."
Jack found that his drink was much more interesting than it had been 5 minutes ago, but he was more mad than anything, this Eden woman, must really have Stella fooled, he has never seen her like this, she's going to be crushed when she finally kicks her to the curb. He can't let that happen.
"Stella, don't take this the wrong way. But are you sure you've thought this through?"
Stella was taken aback, but defiant. "Do you think I would just get into something like this lightly?"
Jack senses the tinge of anger in her voice. "Hey, I know you love her, there's no doubt in my mind about that. But what about the future?"
"My future is with her."
"What about marriage and kids? I thought you wanted that stuff. And you are so special Stella; you don't to deserve to have to give that up."
Now he had it a sore spot with Stella. He is of course right, she had always expected marriage and kids in her future, but she and Eden had never really talked about it. She could feel the emotion hitting her brain, she had no answer for him, now her glass of wine had become the most interesting thing ever, that was until she decided she needed to drink it, what a mess of an evening this was turning into.
Ashley has finally finished for the day, and is just in the main lab packing the last of the evidence away, it's quite late, but still early enough that she knows when she calls Stella; she will definitely come to hers. Which is good, because it was a very draining case, and Ashley is in dire need of a hug.
She is startled when she hears a voice coming from the hallway.
"We meet again." It's a voice she instantly recognises as her mothers. Great, this is literally the last thing she needs after a day like today. Ashley is actually lost for works; she tiredly turns around to come face to face with her mother.
"Had a meeting with your lawyer?" This hit Amelia, the truth is she had, had a meeting with her lawyer, and there is nothing she can do about the apartment, which has only served to make her even more determined, to sabotage Eden's relationship. She decides to ignore Eden's statement completely, and get straight into what she's come here to do.
"What are you doing Eden?"
Ashley is far too tired for her mother's games. "What do you want?"
Again Amelia just ignores her. "That's a nice girlfriend you've got there. Very desirable."
"It's not like you to take an interest in my girlfriends." Ashley raises her eyebrows at her mother; she certainly has her attention now.
"She's pretty; she could have any man she wants." Amelia takes pleasure in the confused look on her daughters face; she obviously has no idea where she's going with this.
"What's your point?" Ashley doesn't like where this is going.
"Well I know it's not like me to care about you, but I don't like the idea of someone with my family name being made a fool of." She smirks.
Okay now Ashley is really confused. "Listen as much as I'd love to stand here and talk cryptic with you, I've had a really long day. So can you get to the point?" She is really tired now, and longing to get home and into Stella's arms.
"Okay. She's cheating on you."
Ashley shakes her head, exasperated, is there really no depths to which her mother won't sink, she has definitely heard enough now, and starts gather her things into her bag. Amelia knows she has to move fast.
"I can tell you don't believe me." Ashley just looks at her like she's a complete moron, which to be fair she is in Ashley's eyes. "But let me ask you this, Do you know where she is right now?"
"Of course I do. She's at home."
"Really, now that is interesting, because I have it on good authority that's she's on a date with her ex boyfriend Jack Walker."
"Look I don't know what sort of sick enjoyment you're getting from this, but I trust my girlfriend completely, she is certainly not on a date." Ashley throws on her jacket and throws the last few things into her bag.
Amelia knows that Eden enjoys nothing more than proving her wrong, so she won't be able to resist what she's about to say. "Call her then."
Simple enough way to put an end to this, and make her mother look a complete fool for the second time today, why not. "You know what, I will call her. I was going to anyway so why not." Ashley gives her mum the best smug smile she can muster, as she pulls out her Cell phone.
She dials Stella's number and then waits, it rings a couple of times, before Stella answers, Ashley is immediately surprised by the background noise, it sounds like she's in a bar, she's even more surprised when Stella starts to speak, slurred, she has definitely been drinking.
"Hey baby." Stella is giddily happy that Eden is calling, it's not as late as she was expecting, from across the table, Jack is watching intently, it seems everything is going to plan.
Ashley cannot believe her ears; she looks over at her mother, who is looking very pleased with herself. This tips Ashley over the edge. She is perhaps more abrupt than she should be.
"Where are you?" The venom in Eden's tone catches Stella by surprise. Jack immediately notices Stella's face drop, he can't quite believe the plan seems to be working. Stella stumbles over her next words.
"I erm, well I bumped into an old friend, Jack Walker."
Ashley is being more and more wound up by the second, the smile on her mother's face, is doing nothing to improve her mood, she explodes.
"Are you kidding me?" She is actually shouting now, Stella doesn't really know how to react, she has never known Eden to act like this. The lack of response from Stella spurs Ashley on; she can't seem to stop herself.
"I honestly can't believe this Stella. By old friend, do you mean old boyfriend?"
"Eden honey what's wrong?" Stella is desperately trying to get her head round exactly what's going on, Jack is simply watching her in awe, Amelia is a genius.
"What's wrong, you're on a date with an ex boyfriend, and you're asking me what's wrong? You know what I can't even talk to you right now. I'll seeya tomorrow." Ashley slammed her thumb on the disconnect button.
Stella is confused to say the least, and the alcohol she's consumed isn't helping, Jack notices that she looks like she's about to burst into to tears, he immediately scoots round the table, and pulls Stella into a hug, she resists at first, but she is craving the comfort, so she gives in and buries her head into his chest as the tears start to fall.
Ashley is furious, her mother is chuckling at her, and it's taking everything she has not to smash her face in. She has to get away from her, now. She grabs all of her stuff, and storms straight out of the lab, stopping only to spit out at her.
"You happy now?"
She shoulder barges her as she passes. Amelia is extremely pleased with herself, she can't help the massive grin on her face, once Eden has passed, and under her breath so she's sure she can't hear.
After that ever so abrupt phone call Stella wasn't really in the mood to drink anymore, so Jack is now walking her home. She hasn't really said much, she was still trying to fathom what exactly had happened, and why Eden was so upset.
Jack on the other hand, knew that Amelia had kept her end of the bargain, now he had to try and cement his part of the plan, and he knows he has to act fast, while Stella is still upset. They arrive at Stella's apartment and walk up the steps to the front door; he knows it's now or never.
"She's not worth your tears you know." He says it so quietly Stella barely hears. If he'd said this an hour she would have fought him, and told him how wrong he is, but now, with the way Eden acted, she never thought she could be like that, and now she doesn't know what to think. Jack takes her lack of response as a positive.
"All those things we were talking about earlier, marriage, kids, a normal life, I can give you all of those things." He grabs Stella's arm, and forces her to look him in the eyes. She is confused, she knows that, those things aren't what she wants, not from him anyway, but she is just so confused with tonight's goings on, and the amount of alcohol she has consumed certainly isn't helping. Jack again takes her lack of response as a good sign.
"Let me come in, we can discuss it." Stella's mind is still misty, her brain doesn't she to be able to function, and before she knows it, he is leaning in, and his lips are almost about to touch hers.
Ashley is doing what she does best when she's upset; she's at her favourite bar drinking. Chatting to her favourite barmaid Caitlin. She has just downed another scotch, and is about to ask for another when, she realises Caitlin has in fact just finished clearing the tables and stacking the chairs. Ashley swivels round on her bar stool.
"What time is it?"
Caitlin smiles, she loves drunk Ashley. "Well stud, its 11.30."
Ashley smiles. "You're kidding me. Time flies hey."
"What when you're having fun?" Caitlin is obviously being sarcastic, she can tell Ashley is pretty upset, but doesn't want to push her too much. "You wanna talk about it?"
Ashley really doesn't. Mainly because in her drunken stupor, she realised that she let her Mother wind her up far too easily. And she has this nagging pain in the pit of her stomach and the back of her mind 'why on earth didn't she let Stella explain herself.'
"Not Really." She knows Caitlin is smart, and if she explains the situation, Caitlin will just confirm her realisation, and she's not ready for that, not yet.
"But let me guess, Women trouble." Caitlin is now sitting on the bar stool next to Ashley, a smidgen too close. Ashley just smiles uncomfortably and plays with her empty glass.
Caitlin gently touches her on the arm, causing Ashley to look up into her eyes. "If she's been stupid enough to hurt you, then she's so not worth it."
Ashley immediately breaks eye contact, and smiles, shaking her head at Caitlin's words, how wrong she is, the only person who's been doing the hurting is her. Caitlin misreads Ashley's actions, and gently moves her hand from Ashley's arm to her face, making her look her in the eyes again.
Ashley knows exactly what is about to happen, and as Caitlin inches towards her, a million thoughts run through her head, like how Stella deserves better than her, and how she'll never really feel secure with Stella, because she knows she can't give her everything she needs, and everything she deserves. And how much easier a life with Caitlin, or anybody like her would be. Before she knows it, Caitlin's lips are on hers, and to her surprise, she doesn't pull away.
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