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
Immediately after they exited the ceremony, the wedding party stayed and posed for the official pictures. In the grounds of the old hall and the church, it really was a beautiful scenic place. Stella was so unbelievably happy that the photos would capture not only her new life and her new found happiness, but also the nostalgia of her Greek heritage. She cannot wait to see them.
Everybody is now at the Reception, its being held at the New York Palace hotel. It turned out Audrey was very well connected in this part of the world, and had managed to call in a favour to get Eden and Stella such a beautiful venue at such short notice.
The main hall in the hotel is simply beautiful. Ashley and Stella are sat at the head of the room, looking out over all their guests, They are joined at their head table, by all of their best friends who had official roles in the wedding, Mac, Adam, Flack, Lindsay, and of course Ashley's Grandmother Audrey.
The day has passed in a blur for Ashley, she still feels very overwhelmed by the whole experience, even now it's like everything is happening around her. The guests are just coming to the end of eating their meals, Ashley is remotely aware of this, and the fact that the speeches are next up on the agenda.
Stella glances over to Eden, the smile hasn't moved from her face all day, she can tell Eden is still somewhat is a daze, she grabs her hand on her lap, Eden slowly turns and looks at Stella, confused, Stella's smile grows even larger, she looks adorable.
"Everything okay Shorty?"
Eden swallows her mouth is dry. "Yeah." She manages to get the word, out then looks up at Stella, who is wearing the most amazing smile, it goes all the way up into her eyes, this seems to pull Ashley out of her haze, and she replicates the smile.
"I guess I just still can't believe all this has happened." She exhales, and feels the emotion racking her body. "I am the luckiest person alive."
Stella leans over a kisses Eden. "Not possible, that's me." She states simply, Ashley smiles again and leans in and takes Stella's lips with her own, they both get lost in the moment, lost in the kiss.
That is until they hear the distinct sound of metal on glass, and harsh grunt of someone clearing their throat. They break the kiss and look up to see Flack on his feet, holding his glass in one hand and a knife in the other, grinning down at the two ladies. He obviously ready to give his speech.
"Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, for those of you that don't know me, I'm Don, and I'm best man number one. I just wanted to say a few words. I hope everyone is enjoying the day so far, I think I speak for everyone when I say it's been a pretty emotional day. I mean even the cake is in tiers."
Stella burst's out laughing, Ashley just rolls her eyes and smiles over at Adam, who looks kinda nervous, he's up next after all.
Flack continues, "I think you will all agree with me that, Stella and Eden are both looking stunningly beautiful today."
This gets a round of applause and a few cheers from the room. Flack waits for the noise to stop and then continues.
"As I said previously, I have the honour of being one of Eden's best men today. And it truly is an honour. I have known Eden for a little over a year now, in fact I've known Stella a lot longer, but one thing I know for sure, is that these two belong together."
He looks down at the two of them and smiles, pride is actually emitting from him.
"Now I'm not really one for public speaking, so I'm gunna keep this short and sweet. I just wanna say best of luck to both of you; I am absolutely delighted for you, and hope you have a long and successful marriage. And Eden, thank you again, it really has been a great honour to be your best man, you're like family to me, I love you."
Eden is taken aback, she really was expecting Flack's speech to be full of jokes and ribbing, but she can see his eyes glistening with tears, a lump forms in her throat, as she mouths the words 'I love you too.'
"Okay well it gives me immense pleasure and relief, to ask you all to stand and raise your glasses to Eden and Stella."
Everybody stands and toasts the new couple, Flack moves over and takes it in turn to hug and kiss Eden and Stella. Adam apprehensively rises from his seat; he looks over to Ashley who gives him a reassuring smile.
He copies Flack to get the attention of the room, by tapping his glass with a knife, it works well, and suddenly all eyes are on him. He can feel the sweat forming on his brow. He nervously clears his throat, here goes nothing.
"Hi, my name is Adam; I'm best man number two." He smiles out nervously at the crowd. "First of all I'd like to congratulate Flack on a magnificent speech. I always knew it would be hard to follow, and I was right, I could hardly follow a word of it."
This causes the entire room to laugh, and Ashley in particular who smirks at Flack, who pretends to be a little wounded, the room's reaction to Adam's little joke, calms him no end, he feels much more confident now.
"I know its custom to stand up here and make fun of Ashley with me being her best man and all, and say things like she's a really lucky girl to have gotten someone like Stella. Which is all true by the way." Adam laughs and looks at Stella.
"But the truth is that Stella is really lucky to have found Eden." Stella nods at Adam.
"We all are. Like Flack said, we've only known Ashley for a year or so. But it's been one of the most enriching years of my life. And I know that these two are the real deal, and I for one can't wait to watch them grow as a couple and share in their future."
Adam is getting emotional now; he takes a breath to steady himself. Ashley really is very overwhelmed again, she was prepared for banter, not this, this is touching her heart, Stella knows how much these two mean to her wife, she can tell just how much their speeches are affecting Eden, she grabs her hand again and squeezes it. Adam continues.
"Like Flack I'm not really good with word's so I will leave it there. But I just wanna thank you all for coming, and helping make this day as special as it's been, so far. So again if you would all like to raise your glasses to Stella and Eden."
For the second time in a few minutes the whole room rises to its feet and raises their glasses. Adam sits back down quickly relieved that, that is over. Ashley and Stella just chuckle at him then just smile at each other gazing into each other's eyes.
Stella suddenly feels the need to address the crowd, just to thank them all herself for making her big day so amazing so far. She rises from her seat, Ashley looks a little confused, the rest of the room seems to have noticed she has risen from her seat, and she has their full attention. No need for the glass.
"I just wanted to say a few words; I know it's not really customary for the bride to. But I guess there's nothing really traditional about this wedding."
Stella chuckles and the rest of the room follows suit. Ashley just looks up with immense pride.
"I just want to say thank you to you all, for being here and sharing in our special day, however unconventional it may seem to you all, you're all here, and that means more to me than you'll ever know."
"I wanna thank Mac, for giving me away; he's the nearest thing I've had to a family these past ten years. He truly is the most amazing man I have ever met, and it means everything to me that he was the one who passed me over to my new family."
Stella grabs and holds Eden's hand and smiles.
"And finally my biggest thank you goes to the love of my life, my new wife Eden."
That lump in Ashley's throat from earlier comes back with a vengeance.
"Thank you for putting up with me, and always being there for me, and loving me. I love you, with all my heart, and if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that, that will never change. I must be the luckiest woman on earth, and I am absolutely sure we are going to have an amazing life together."
Ashley's tears have started again, she is furiously starting to try and mop them up with a napkin, thank god she went for the water proof mascara.
Stella is just about managing to hold it together, but really needs to wrap this up quickly.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this toast is for my gorgeous, loving wife. To Eden."
Stella raises her glass, and everybody follows suit, she leans down and kisses Eden, before turning back to the room. "Let's get this party started."
This is greeted with cheers, as the music starts to play.
Ashley and Stella have been mingling and chatting with guests for over an hour now, Stella is currently chatting away with some people from NYPD, Ashley doesn't really know who they are, she's grabs a seat next to her grandmother.
Audrey looks at Eden as she sits, her eyes still transfixed on Stella. Audrey chuckles, which makes Ashley tear her eyes away from her new bride, and look at her grandmother, puzzled.
"What's so funny?" Ashley quizzes.
"You can't take your eyes off of her." Audrey looks over at Stella, Ashley follows her gaze, and knows exactly what she's referring to.
"Can you blame me?" Ashley raises her eyebrows at her grandmother as she asks the question.
"No. She is simply radiant today." Audrey answers simply. "The two of you are going to be extremely happy."
"We are, aren't we? " Ashley still feels like she has to pinch herself to make sure this is all actually happening.
Audrey smiles again, she knows she won't be around forever, she is extremely satisfied now that when she does eventually make her way to the place in the sky, that her beloved granddaughter will be extremely well looked after. She can tell it's been an emotionally draining afternoon for Eden, so she decides to change the subject. Stella has just made her way over to an older gentleman, around her own age she guessed.
Seeing that Eden had gone back to be transfixed by Stella, she felt it safe to ask the next question.
"Who's that stud with Stella?"
Ashley had chosen that precise moment to take a small swig of her champagne, which she proceeds to nearly choke on. She looks at her grandmother; with such an expression of disgust it makes Audrey burst out laughing.
"Stud? Really grandmother." She shakes her head.
"Its Gabe by the way, he set us up with the old hall as a venue, Stella's known him forever."
Audrey pulls herself up from her chair. "Is that so, well I better go and thank him personally."
Ashley just giggles and shakes her head, as she watches her grandmother head over to her unsuspecting victim. Stella passes Audrey on her way over to Eden; she smiles at her and notices she looks like a woman on a mission.
When Stella reaches Eden's table, she lowers herself onto the chair just vacated by Audrey, and grabs Eden hands again.
"What's your grandmother up too?"
"I think she's taken a liking to Gabe, do you think we should warn him?" Ashley is only half joking.
Stella smiles. "You know what let them have their fun."
Ashley just nods, she remembers that she needs to talk to Stella about the road trip, mainly because Mrs. Henderson is here at the wedding, and she is going to have to introduce them soon.
"So I need to talk to you." Straight to the point. Stella would be slightly worried if it wasn't for the beautiful smile Eden currently has on her face.
"Okay." Stella says tentatively. "About anything in particular?"
"The road trip I went on."
Stella had been very curious about this, but she knew when not to push Eden, and she knew she would eventually tell her, in her own time; it appears that time has arrived.
"Okay." Stella motions for her to continue.
"I went to Providence." Eden had been looking at their entwined fingers as she began to speak, she looks up at Stella once she has spoken, to see if Stella realises the significance of her words. It appears she does.
"Katy's home town." Stella can't help the pang of jealously she feels, and Ashley immediately sees it flash on her face, and feels bad. She squeezes Stella's hand, causing her to look her in the eye. She has to explain herself fully.
"I have been suffering, the most intense guilt recently, since we got engaged really."
Stella feels for Eden. "Shorty you have nothing to feel guilty about. . ." Ashley stops her before she goes any further.
"Let me finish." Stella nods for her to continue. "I don't feel guilty because I'm moving on; Katy would have wanted me to be happy. I feel guilty about the thoughts I had, if she were still alive."
This confuses Stella no end, Ashley again can see this right away, she needs to explain herself better.
"If Katy was still alive, the two of us would probably be married by now, I might never have met you. And that thought made me sadder than anything else."
Ashley had again reverted to looking down at her hands; she looks up at Stella to see if she understands the gravity of what she's saying. Stella does, and her heart breaks when she sees the tears forming in Eden's eyes. Ashley needs to voice it.
"For a split second, it made me glad that she wasn't around anymore." The tears spill over again. Stella pulls her into a hug.
"What kind of person does that make me?" Ashley muffles this out into the crook of Stella's neck.
"Oh Shorty, you can't keep doing this to yourself. You loved Katy very much, I know that, she will always be a big part of your life, and that thought you had, anyone in the same situation may have had the same thought, and it doesn't mean you're a terrible person. It means you're human."
Ashley pulls back, wiping the tears from her face for about the billionth time today. "Anyway, I felt like I had to go see, her to explain myself."
"Did it help?" Stella smiles.
"Yeah it did." Ashley does genuinely feel like a weight has been lifted. "I bumped into Mrs Peterson at the cemetery, and invited her to the wedding. I will introduce you later."
"I'll look forward to it."
Stella stroke Eden's hair. Happy.
The evening is in full swing; Stella and Eden have just had their official first dance, and are still entwined with each other on the dance floor. Their first dance had been to Etta James 'At Last.' It was perfect.
Ashley has relaxed a lot as the evening has gone on, the emotional haze has well and truly lifted and now she's just having a fantastic time. Stella is currently in the crook of her neck as they are swaying to the music. She is lost in thought, just taking in the enormity of the day, and the happiness she feels.
Ashley peers over Stella's shoulder and chuckles at the sight before her, she gently shakes Stella.
Stella is pulled from her reverie, by Eden, she pulls her head out of the crook of her neck, regretfully, and looks up to see Eden's face glowing with mischief, she has such a delightful smile on her face. Stella can't help but reciprocate.
"Look." Ashley nods over to the source of her amusement. Stella follows her gesture and her smile widens.
Audrey and Gabe, dancing to the music, but looking much more wrapped up in each other than the song that's playing. She thinks they look adorable.
"Wow, your grandmother is a minx." Stella turns back to Eden and the grin grows even wider.
Ashley just shakes her head. "She's a nightmare more like; I hope Gabe over there isn't trying to crack on to my grandmother."
Stella laughs. "Gabe is a man of the cloth, I'll have you know, there's only one person trying to crack on to the other over there."
Ashley smiles at Stella's playful defence of her mentor. "Yeah well, we like a challenge in this family."
Now it's Stella's turn to shake her head. Something, or rather someone catches Ashley's eye, without a second thought she grabs Stella's hand firmly.
"Come on, there's someone I want you to meet."
Ashley pulls Stella over to the side of the dance floor, Stella has an idea of who she's about to be introduced to, which is confirmed when they reach their destination. Ashley feels nervous a lot more nervous than she should.
"Hi." Ashley smiles.
Ashley looks at Stella, who is looking rather expectantly. "This is Stella Bonasera. My wife." This causes the woman to laugh. This relaxes Ashley a little.
"Stella, this is Barb Peterson." Barb smiles at Stella.
"Pleased to meet you Mrs Peterson. Eden's told me so much about you."
Mrs Peterson grabs Stella's outstretched hand and shakes it heartily. "Congratulations Stella, you've bagged yourself quite a woman here."
Ashley breath catches in her throat, those words from Mrs Peterson, mean the world to her. Stella can instantly tell, that Eden's emotions have returned tenfold.
"I know. Thank you." Stella is sincere, and Mrs Peterson is convinced that she will look after this amazing young woman, and that's really the only reason she came here today.
"You two should be really proud; it really was a beautiful ceremony."
"I'm just really grateful you could make it today, it really did mean the world to me." Ashley chokes a little as she says the words, and grabs out and touches, Mrs Peterson's arm. She is also feeling pretty emotional, she can't help but think this is what her own daughter's wedding might have been like, she grabs Eden's arm on hers and swiftly pulls her into a hug. She whispers into Eden's ear.
"Katy will be so happy for you today; it's obvious how much you love each other."
Ashley can't bring herself to speak; she just pulls back from Mrs Peterson and nods her head and smiles, tears yet again threatening to spill. Mrs Peterson herself is on the verge of losing her composure, so she decides to make a swift exit.
"Well Stella, it really was a pleasure to meet you, but I have to head back to Providence now. You two be sure to stay in touch."
"We will." Ashley quickly regains the ability to speak. Stella nods her head in confirmation that she wholeheartedly agrees with Eden's statement.
Mrs Peterson quickly hugs Eden and then Stella, and the excuses herself. Stella just pulls her new wife into a huge hug and kisses the top of her head.
Stella has stepped out of the main hall for a second, the party is still in full swing, she needs a few seconds to compose her thoughts, what a day it's been. Perfect.
"Hey, there she is." Stella looks up and is greeted by Mac's smiling face. His eyes have that familiar sparkle.
"Some day huh?" He reaches and puts his arm around Stella as he speaks.
"Yeah, best day of my life." Stella looks Mac firmly in the eyes, he knows she means it. He chuckles.
"And to think you were having second thoughts yesterday." He shakes his head at the thought, Stella smiles at how stupid she had been to ever question this, even if it was only for a millisecond.
Unfortunately, Ashley emerged from the bathroom, and out into the hallway just as Mac was speaking, her heart sinks.
But not as much as Stella's does when she looks up and see's the hurt expression on Eden's face. Mac immediately feels a tension descend, and when he looks up he instantly knows why, he cannot believe how much he has just but his foot in his mouth, but he senses there's nothing he can say to make it better, so he excuses himself.
Stella feels awkward she hates herself for ever having doubts. "I am so sorry Shorty."
After the initial shock at Mac's words, Ashley quickly processes the information, and realises that it may not be as bad as it sounds, but she needs clarification and fast. She grabs Stella's hand.
"Real doubts or wedding jitters?" Ashley looks Stella in the eyes. Stella is taken aback, if things where the other way around, she would have lost the plot. Eden actually seems like she'd gunna be quite understanding.
"Wedding jitters." She answers immediately and without question.
Ashley smiles at the level of nervousness in Stella's expression. She leans in and kisses Stella.
"Hey relax; I'd be worried if you didn't have jitters."
Stella exhales pure relief. Ashley speaks again. "Do you love me?" she looks Stella full in the eyes as she asks. Stella is quite taken aback, her first thought is, what a ridiculous question.
"Of course I do, with all my heart. You know that."
Ashley smiles, that's the point she was trying to make, she does know this, so there was need for Stella to look quite so guilty.
"Good and I love you. So I guess we're okay." Stella clicks on to what Eden is getting at, not only is she the most understanding girlfriend, sorry wife, but she's actually trying to make Stella feel better, surely this should be the other way around?
"Right I've gotta go spend some time with my boys, I've hardly seen them since the aisle, and I'm already getting jokes that I'm whipped."
This makes Stella laugh, "Okay Shorty I'll come find you in a while."
Ashley caught up with Flack and Adam, and they are currently standing at the bar. Propping it up you could say.
"So come on Ashley, Weddings are supposed to be great places to pick up women, gimme the lowdown. Who's available?"
Ashley raises her eyebrows, but doesn't get a chance to speak, Adam butts in.
"Dude this is a Lesbian wedding."
Ashley slightly offended by this comment. "Hey that only means the brides are Lesbians, Stella and I hardly have an abundance Gay friends."
She continues to answer Flack's question. "You know you probably know more people at this wedding than I do."
At this point Flack actually catches sight of a girl he knows from work. "Right Adam, care to make thing interesting."
Adam is intrigued. "I'm listening."
Flack gestures over to the girl he's just spotted. "Me versus you, winner is the guy who gets the girl. You in?"
Ashley feels like she at least has to pretend to be disgusted, what with her being a woman and all. "Are you guys really, gunna bet on a girl? You know there will only be one outcome."
Flack's bravado kicks is as usual. "Yeah, a win for me."
This stirs Adam; he's feeling a little confident. "Yeah well I guess we'll see."
Ashley is taken aback; Adam must be a little buzzed from the alcohol. Flack is delighted.
"Right the rules are, there are no rules, the guy who gets the farthest with the girl wins, Ashley can be the judge." Flack is actually rubbing his hands together.
"Ashley gets to judge what?"
This causes all three heads to snap round at the sound of Stella's voice. All with equally guilty looking expressions on their faces. Ashley is the first to speak.
"You really don't wanna know."
Adam's new found confidence is in full force. "I'm just about to teach Flack here a lesson on how to get the ladies."
This causes Flack to laugh out loud. "Go for it big man, I'll even let you go first."
Stella immediately realises what's going on from Flacks turn of phrase. "Let me get this straight, you too are going to compete against each other to see which of you can get into that poor unsuspecting girl, first?"
Flack, pulls a face, which immediately screams you've just hit the nail of the head. "Pretty much yeah."
Stella just looks at Eden and rolls her eyes. "Right well it's getting pretty late guys, so I'm gunna steal my wife back."
Both Flack and Adam are both totally uninterested in what Stella is saying as they are currently stalking out there pray.
Stella smirks at Eden, an evil idea forming in her mind. "So we're off to the honeymoon suite."
This catches a little more of the guy's attention, but still doesn't fully get them. Stella grabs Eden hand, and starts to make her way out of the venue, as she passes the two guys, still salivating over the chosen woman, she leans in.
"Oh and just to let you know, for betting purposes. . . Eden's on a sure thing."
Stella confidently strides away, pulling Eden with her. Ashley just smirks at the two guys, who are now totally focused on Stella; she wiggles her eyebrows, and then quickly follows Stella out of the room. If possible she loves her even more.
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