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
About three milliseconds after Caitlin's lips hit hers Ashley's brain woke up, she bolted straight up off the bar stool and backed away from Caitlin, who looks extremely taken aback. Ashley is angry at herself more than anything, but the haze she felt a few mere moments earlier was gone, that drunken feeling immediately gone, instantly sober.
"What are you doing?" It was the best Ashley could muster.
Caitlin is now looking hugely embarrassed. "I thought it's what you wanted."
"No it isn't." Ashley was very clear now in her own mind, this is most definitely not what she wants. "I've got to go."
She doesn't wait for a response from Caitlin; she just exits the bar at high speed, with one thought on her mind, get to Stella. As she hits the brisk New York air, she pulls her cell phone out for the second time that evening and dials the number that has become so familiar.
Jack's lips hit hers and her immediate reaction is to move her head back, so their lips are no longer touching, Jack appears to be persistent, so he leans in again, causing Stella not only to move her head backwards, but to actually reposition her whole body away from him.
He sighs. "You're really gunna give up a chance of happiness." He can't actually believe it.
"The only real chance I have at happiness is with her, and I am not going to ruin that." Stella is absolutely clear about this. It seems Eden was right, she thought she was going out with an old friend, but apparently Jack was there as an old boyfriend.
"Do you honestly believe that?" Jack is desperate now. "You know she'll only end up hurting you."
"Why do you keep saying things like that?" As Stella says the words out loud, it seems to become clear in her head, she thought his only problem was that she was with a woman, but that's clearly not the case, it's almost a vendetta he's got against Eden, he doesn't even know her.
His lack of response spurs her on. "No come on Jack, you seem to have so much to say about her, you don't even know her. Where do you get off bad mouthing her?" The rage is building inside of Stella there is definitely more to this, and she is determined to get to the bottom of it.
"I don't know her, but I know someone who does, the person who knows her the best in the world, and she knows that she is scum." He spits it out at Stella.
Now Stella is really confused, who on earth does he think he's been talking too? The only person who knows Eden inside out, apart from Stella is her grandmother, and she doesn't have a bad word to say about her. She needs him to name his source.
"Who have you been talking to?"
Jack knows the game is up, so he may as well come clean with her. "Her mother okay."
Stella cannot believe it; she shakes her head in disbelief, and starts to laugh. This is not the reaction Jack had been expecting.
"What's so funny?"
"Her mother?" Stella still can't believe it. "Her mother who disowned her when she was 15 and hasn't spoken to her since, that mother. That's the person you think knows her best?"
Jack is gobsmacked. "She told me she was bad news, honestly Stella I thought I was doing this for your own good."
"Doing what?" She knew it there is some sort of agenda going on here. She gave Jack her best 'you better tell me what the hell is going on' stare, and he knew it, definitely time to come clean.
"She said she would only end up hurting you so, that's the only reason I agreed to any of this." He needed to get that out there first of all, Stella nods at him to continue. "I don't know exactly what the plan was, just that I was to meet you after work and take you out, she was obviously going to do something to Eden, I dunno, maybe wind her up so much about me that she'd snap at you, it sounds really lame now, but I couldn't believe it when you got that phone call, I couldn't believe it was working."
Stella is enraged. Eden had told her about her mother, and how she hadn't seen her since she was 15, but how she was always there in the background out of sight trying to make Eden's life a misery; it appears she has decided to come to the forefront.
"And I almost fell for it." Now Stella feels foolish. She can't believe she didn't work out earlier that it was all an elaborate plan. Jack is devastated that he's hurt Stella. She just needs to find Eden.
"I think you better go." Jack resigned, just nods his head and turns and leaves when he reaches the bottom of the steps, he turns around as he needs to say one last thing to her.
"I really am sorry Stella." She can tell he is, and just nods, she can't bring herself to speak to him. He continues on his way.
Stella becomes distracted by her purse vibrating, she pulls her Cell phone out, and smiles at the caller ID. She answers immediately, but cautiously as she not sure what sort of mood Eden is going to be in.
Eden is so happy that she's answered; she is feeling so emotional that she can barely speak. But manages to get out, "I am so sorry." Before she bursts into tears.
Stella heart explodes. "Where are you?" All she wants to do is give her hug and tell her everything is going to be okay.
"I'm on my way to yours. Are you in?" Again each word spoken between soft sobs.
"Yes, I'm in, get here quickly." With this the phone call ends, and Stella opens the front door to her apartment, what a long day, and it doesn't appear to be anywhere near over yet.
Ashley arrives at Stella's apartment and tentatively knocked on the door, she is feeling pretty sheepish to be fair. She waits anxiously for the door to open. When it does she comes face to face with a beaming Stella, who immediately pulls her into a colossal hug. It is absolutely what they both needed, and Ashley feels instantly better for it.
They compose themselves and head into Stella's living room. They sit on the same couch, facing each other holding hands, Ashley is still pretty upset, today has really taken its toll. She just looks down at their entwined fingers, they both know they need to talk, more accurately Ashley knows she needs to apologise.
Stella is the first to speak. "Why didn't you tell me your Mother was in town?"
Okay, that was the last thing she was expecting Stella to come out with. "I didn't have a chance, how do you even know she's here?" She is truly puzzled.
"You've still not worked it out then?" Ashley has no idea what Stella is going on about, and Stella guesses as much from the blank stare on Eden's face.
"Tonight was apparently an elaborate plan on the part of your mother, to try and split us up." The realisation suddenly dawns on Ashley, and she can't believe it. She didn't think her mother could sink any lower. Stella continues.
"Jack told me everything." Ashley flinches at the mention of his name; this doesn't go unnoticed by Stella, who moves immediately to reassure her. She takes her face in her hands.
"Hey listen to me, I don't know what your mom said to you, but trust me there is nothing going on with Jack he's just a friend, yes we used to date but that is all in the past."
Ashley flinches again. She needs to get this off of her chest. "I am so sorry, I shouldn't have let her get to me like that, I should've known what she's like." She gulps, she knows she doesn't really have to mention what she's about to, be she wants to be completely honest.
"I went for a drink at coyotes." This has Stella intrigued; she knows there must be more to come, so she just gestures at Eden to continue. "So anyway to cut a long story short, Caitlin kissed me."
"What?" Stella was furious initially until she then remembered that Jack had done the same with her, but she needed to know the full story. "Did you kiss her back?"
Ashley head snaps up immediately. "No of course not. I just wanted to be completely honest with you. It wouldn't surprise me if it was all part of the plan.
Stella feels bad. "Jack kissed me, well tried to." She exhales. "I'm sorry; I should have told you where I was going."
"No don't be ridiculous. I'm not your keeper."
The tension that has been in the room seems to dissipate; now all the secrets are out, Ashley has relaxed, and it seems everything is going to be okay.
Stella wants to talk about the worries Jack brought up, but she doesn't really want to push Eden, especially when she looks so exhausted.
"I want us to talk about the future." She gets nervous as she says it, and looks down at her hands. "But we don't have to do it right now, just at some point."
She looks up her own eyes met by bright blue questioning orbs.
"What about the future?" Ashley is now worried again.
"Just what you think it holds for us." Stella looks away nervously. Ashley somewhat relaxes again, it at least seems that Stella see's a future for them.
"I think it can hold whatever we want it to." Ashley doesn't really know where Stella is coming from with this. "Why, is there something in particular you're worried about?"
Stella decides honesty is the best policy. "Marriage and kids." This takes Ashley by surprise.
"Is that what you want?" Ashley is worried that Stella is about to reveal that she actually does want a more normal existence with 2.4 kids, and the strapping husband, she is mentally preparing herself for the worst.
"Well yeah, eventually. I've always wanted kids."
"Oh." Ashley doesn't really know what to think, and as she struggling with the words, Stella wants to make something very clear.
"But if that's not what you want, then we don't have to."
Ashley's heart feels as though it's going to burst through her chest. "You want those things with me?"
Stella begins to wonder if Eden is being intentionally dense. "Of course with you. Who else? But like I say. . ."
Before Stella has a chance to finish, Ashley holds her hand up to Stella's lips, signalling for her to be quiet for a second, she can feel herself becoming emotional before she even says her next words.
"I would be truly honoured, to be your wife, and to raise children with you, and I would love nothing more if that's something that happens in our future. Just the thought that you are even considering those things with me . . ." She can no longer hold the tears in, today has just been so draining. Stella who herself is also overcome with emotion, just grabs her into a hug, and comforts her until the sobs stop. The y both smile at each like idiots before heading to bed. Both extremely glad that this day is now over.
The next day, Stella has left Eden in bed; she worked more hours than usual yesterday, so she's starting work late today. She must have needed the sleep after her emotional exertion yesterday, because she was still fast asleep when Stella was leaving, and that's really not like her.
As she waltzes out of the elevator into the lab she notices someone, not she has never met Eden's mother, but this woman was Eden's double, even with the obvious work she has had done and the peroxide blonde hair. Stella wants to have a nice chat with her, so she strides right over, Amelia, who has turned up at the lab today to gloat at Eden, notices a woman heading straight for her, she doesn't really have time to comprehend who it is before the woman is face to face with her.
"Amelia Ashley I presume?" Stella doesn't smile, she leaves Amelia in no uncertain terms that she is not remotely happy to see her, and also in no doubt who the woman before her is.
"Ah you must be the delightful Stella."
Stella just smirks. Amelia continues. "Well you look closer to my age than my daughters." She couldn't resist the sly dig.
Stella raises her eyebrows, she didn't really think Amelia could be as bad as Eden was making out, but apparently she is a complete bitch. She doesn't let the age remark get to her, things like that haven't offended her since the whole Doctor Lovely incedent, and besides she was only five years older. She shrugs it off.
"I'd like to talk to you, in my office." Stella doesn't wait for a response she just heads towards her office. Amelia is intrigued enough to follow, she hasn't heard from Jack since yesterday, she assumed because he'd been having so much fun with Stella, well at least that what she hoped. However it seems she is about to find out.
When they enter the office, Stella puts her bag and her jacket on the couch, and immediately takes a seat at her desk, and gestures for Amelia to sit, which rather obediently she does. They sit for a few seconds, staring each other out; Stella can feel the rage building.
"What are you doing here? Why are you hanging around?" Stella gets straight to the point; she has no desire to be in the presence of this woman for any longer than necessary.
"Don't you and my daughter talk at all?"
Stella can't believe the front of this woman, how dare she try to undermine her relationship. "Well I know you where here originally to try and steal Eden's apartment, and then you hung around to try and break us up, but you've failed at both of those things." Amelia's face drops at this point, something which doesn't go unnoticed by Stella. "So what I can't figure out is what you're still doing here."
Amelia goes on the attack. "What are you doing with my daughter? I mean really, I don't get it."
"I wouldn't expect you to understand love. Especially when it comes to Eden." If Stella was expecting this to hurt Amelia she was sadly mistaken.
"I know exactly how this relationship is going to go."
"Oh because you know your daughter so well." Stella practically spits this out.
"I know her a hell of a lot better than you think, I know the things in her life that have shaped her as a person. She will never be secure with you." Amelia is on a roll now.
"The most important woman in her life, namely me, abandoned her, the next time she allows someone in, she gets murdered, leaving her alone again. She is not used to women sticking around; she's programmed to think that one way or another they always leave, and you know what it's not a bad programme to have because it's probably correct. Nothing lasts forever."
Stella shudders at Amelia's confession, she seems almost proud after her little outburst. "I'm aware of how naive this sounds, but I do really believe that we will last."
Amelia laughs. God this woman is pathetic. "You know a woman of your advanced years should know better." Stella frowns at the second little dig. Amelia just continues. "Listen, I don't care how much you think you love, or even if you actually do, but you will never make my daughter feel secure enough for the two of you to have anywhere near a remotely normal relationship."
"Well with all due respect, you're wrong." Just as it looks as though Amelia is going to protest, Stella cuts her off. "I'm not interested. I want you to go; you've had your fun, so stay the hell away from us."
"Ha believe me I have no desire to stick around. I like to have a good 16 years between visits."
"Yeah well, I don't wanna see you in 16 years time either." Stella was adamant and determined; Amelia could see she wasn't going to get a rise out of her, so she decides to leave.
"Give my regards to my daughter; tell her it's been fun." With that she exits Stella's office, and Stella hopes that's the last time she ever sees her. But something she said struck a chord with Stella, what she said about Eden not feeling secure; she wondered how much of that was true, after all she was right when she said every important woman In Eden's life had disappeared one way or another. Stella was determined to prove to Eden that she was going to be the one to stick around, to reaffirm her commitment; this certainly got the cogs moving in Stella's brain.
Ashley wanders into the lab, feeling a lot happier, the mega sleep she's just had certainly helped, she is heading for Stella's office, but bumps into Adam on the way, he greets her in his own unique way.
"What up?" Adam is happy to see Ashley he didn't really get a chance to see her yesterday due to the massive case she was working on.
"Hey Adam." She slaps his hand, and the do there usual handshake.
"Hey, how's the big case going?"
"Finished thank God. Yesterday was actually the worst day of my life." Ashley gets sad just thinking about it.
"Wow that bad? You wanna talk about it?"
"Not right now, but I will defo fill you in on the next boys night out. Have you seen Stella?"
"Yeah, but she's not in her office, she's headed out I think."
"On a case?"
"No I don't think so; it's been pretty quiet this morning."
Now Ashley is quite concerned, she really hopes Stella's disappearance has nothing to do with her mother. Mac and Lindsay happen to be walking through the hallway, so Eden questions them.
"Morning Eden, great result for you and Danny yesterday." Mac beams at her.
"Aw thanks Mac, I don't suppose you've seen Stella have you?" Mac looks up and see's Stella has just stepped off the elevator, looking rather pleased with herself.
"She's right there." He points in Stella's direction, causing Ashley to turn in the direction of the point, and everybody else to follow suit.
Stella cannot take the smile from her face, as she walks towards everyone, her eyes are firmly fixed on Eden though, who is smiling right back at her. To say Stella is nervous is an understatement, but she's excited as well. She finally reaches them all.
"Hey." Ashley can't stop smiling, basically because Stella hasn't stopped grinning at her. "What's going on?"
"I wanna talk to you."
"Okay shall we go into your office?" Ashley is intrigued, although not worried; it can't be anything bad, based on the huge grin Stella hasn't been able to remove from her face.
"No here is fine."
This gets everybody's interest, including Danny and Hawkes who have now joined everybody else.
"Erm okay." Ashley doesn't really know what to think now.
"So Erm." Suddenly the nerves seem to take over, Stella takes a breath and composes herself. "I want you to know how much I love you."
"I know that." Ashley gets in quickly before Stella continues, now Lindsay is smiling like an idiot, she loves a good love story, everybody else just looks slightly puzzled.
"And I want you to know that I'm always going to be around, and that this is where I wanna be, nowhere else, and I can't imagine ever feeling any different."
Eden just smiles, she senses Stella isn't quite done, so decides to let her finish. Here goes nothing thinks Stella.
"So I was wondering." Stella decides traditional is best, she slowly drops down onto one knee, and the realisation suddenly dawns on Ashley what is actually happening. She can't help the shocked expression that appears on her face, she quickly puts her hand over her mouth, to try and cover the shock.
Stella smiles at Eden's reaction. "If you feel the same, that maybe you'd wanna spend the rest of your life with me." Stella pulls out a small box from her jacket pocket, and opens it to reveal a white gold diamond encrusted ring, with a larger diamond in the centre.
"Eden Ashley will you marry me?"
Ashley is so shocked, as is everybody else, Lindsay has already started crying, this is just the most romantic thing she has ever seen. Even Mac is smiling like a goon. Stella is starting to get a little worried, this must register with Ashley, as she realises she hasn't actually given an answer.
She removes her hand away from her mouth. "Of course I will."
The guys let out a cheer, and Stella, who is massively relieved, rises up from the floor slipping the ring onto Eden's finger and then throwing her arms around Eden's neck and pulling her in for a kiss.
Once they break, they turn to all the guys. Mac tries his best to put on a stern face but fails miserably. "You know, public displays of affection like that aren't really allowed." Eden and Stella look slightly worried, but the smile Mac has been trying desperately to hide, breaks out all over his face. "I suppose I can let it slide in this instance. Congratulations guys." He pulls them both in for a hug.
This pattern of congratulations and hugs, repeats itself for all the guys. Everyone is so happy for them, but not half as happy as they are for themselves. Yesterday was one of the worst days, today is certainly the very best.
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