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 just stands there, lets the words on the page wash over her. Lets them sink in. The rest of the room just stands and holds its breath. Except of course Mac, who having read the results from his own envelope, just looks over at Eden, transfixed, waiting for her reaction, before he dares contemplate his own.
The emotion of the moment takes over Ashley, she doesn't know how to react, how to process the information her brain has just received. She takes a deep breath, mainly because she feels like she forgot to breathe the last few seconds. She needs to escape, the pressure in the room is too much, and she can't see anything clearly anymore.
The only thing she knows she has to do, is give Mac some sort of reaction, it wouldn't be fair on him, just to bolt, and after all none of this has been his fault.
She looks up from the envelope, and looks directly into Mac's eyes, she can see the tears forming there, she suddenly realises her own tears are already spilling down her cheeks. She exhales again, and without thinking closes the space between her and Mac, and envelopes him into a hug. One which he readily accepts and responds to.
But within seconds the warmth of the hug is gone, Eden escapes his arms as quickly has she had arrived in them. He opens his eyes, he hadn't realised he had closed them and see's Eden's back, gliding towards the exit.
It was all Ashley could manage for Mac, she needs to get out, she needs air. As soon as she turns to leave she see's Stella's face, she is obviously confused, neither she or Mac have given any indication as to what the results are. Ashley can't stay, but she can't leave Stella wondering, she passes her the envelope she has just opened and rapidly exits the room.
Stella looks at Mac before she delves into the envelope, he can't speak, the tears now freely falling from his eyes, Lindsay has moved towards him and placed her hand on his arm, as a showing of comfort, it doesn't appear to have worked. Lindsay's eyes are full of worry and wonder, expressions which are replicated on the faces of Flack, Danny and Hawkes, Adam of course already knows the results, but feels it's not his place to reveal.
Stella swallows hard as she reads the paper. She can't believe it. She looks directly at Adam.
"Did you double check the results?"
"Doubled checked, tripled checked, quadruple checked." It's as much as Adam can muster the emotion in the room getting to him as much as anyone else.
Stella can feel the tears starting to form. She looks again at Mac, and instantly moves towards him. She pulls him into a hug, and he immediately buries his head into the crook of her neck, and continues to silently sob.
Stella looks over to the three remaining people in the room, who aren't currently in the know. She doesn't really know how to say it, so she just blurts it out.
"He is her father." The realisation hits her, and her own tears come thick and fast. She needs to find Eden.
Ashley initially found herself on the roof of the lab, just looking out over New York City, gasping for air. Her hands firmly placed on the concrete wall in front of her, practically keeled over. She doesn't know how long she was standing there like that for. But she managed to regain her composure, the tears stopped and the ability to breathe returned. Unfortunately this was replaced by mass confusion.
She's not sure how she got here, but her legs have somehow managed it. She is currently sitting in the waiting room of the New York City morgue. She knows a few people who work here and has managed to pull a few strings, mainly down to the fact she still has a very tear stained face. She has often found a man usually doesn't like to deal with a crying woman.
She is broken from her thoughts by Sean; he gently taps her on the shoulder causing her to look up. Sean see's she is still a little teary so as gently as possible he states.
"The coroner has prepared everything and I can take you down to see the body now."
Ashley smiles, she can tell he is terrified she's going to burst into tears again. "Thank you."
She rises up and follows Sean, through a maze of dreary corridors; he stops by a huge green door and turns to Ashley.
"This is a private room; I can let you have 5 minutes."
"Thanks Sean. I really appreciate this."
"Anytime." Sean smiles and wanders back the way they have just walked. Ashley pushes the door open. Amelia is laid out on the slab in the middle of the room. Covered in a white sheet, it has already been pulled down to reveal her face. Ashley quickly sits in the chair that has been placed out for her, before her legs give way.
She tentatively reaches out and touches her mother. She's not as cold has she was expecting. She quickly pulls her hand back, and just looks at the floor. She takes a deep breath and just starts to talk, to get her feelings off her chest.
"This is just like you, to change the game and then disappear." She smiles as she says it and looks up at her mother.
"What am I going to do now hey?" Ashley just stares; she's not sure what she's expecting to happen.
"You know it would have been nice for you to tell me a little earlier, so you could actually answer some of my questions."
Ashley laughs. It seems to sink in at this point, that there is nothing that can be done, what's happened has happened, Ashley needs to stop dwelling on what could have been and start working towards a future, with her new family. She can't quite let go of the rage she feels inside, but can't bring herself to aim it at a dead woman. She leans over and kisses her on the cheek. She takes one last look at her mum and exits the room, in the knowledge that she has to move on, but still not entirely sure how to do this.
Stella is worried, for two reasons. Firstly she hasn't managed to track down Eden since she bolted out of the lab earlier. Secondly she hates that Eden's initial coping mechanism seems to be to run away. They're married, she should be able to talk to Stella first of all, she needs to realise that Stella is always going to be here for her no matter what, and she doesn't need to deal with her problems alone anymore.
Stella had spoken to Mac briefly, but the poor guy was in shock, he's currently just sitting in his office, trying his best to get his head around all of this. Which to be fair is pretty much what Stella is doing now. She looks up when she hears her door open, and smiles when she see's Eden walk in, but she can't help feeling a little mad at her for running away, again. She supposes she can leave this until later; there are more pressing issues at hand.
Eden looks a lot better than she did earlier. Stella decides to break the ice. "Hey."
Ashley smiles as she looks across at her beautiful wife, she knows no matter what happens she can get through this.
"How are you?" Stella knows in general this is a pretty rubbish question, but she also knows in these circumstances Eden will know she expects an actual answer.
Ashley does of course know this, and takes a deep breath. "Confused. Excited. But I guess my overriding emotion is still anger. I just don't know who to be angry at."
Stella reaches across her desk and grabs her hand. She can't begin to imagine what she is going through right now. She does seem to be over the initial shock though.
Ashley has been thinking on her way back from the morgue, and she needs to verbalise her thoughts.
"I want to change my name."
This takes Stella by surprise; it's the last thing she was expecting Eden to say. Her shock must be apparent to Eden, as she starts to explain herself immediately.
"I know we said we would wait a while, before we discussed taking each other's name. Wait until we have a family even."
Ashley takes a deep breath; the meaning of the world family is something that has changed a lot for her in the last few days. Stella still doesn't know what to say, Ashley continues.
"It doesn't mean anything to me anymore."
Stella panics, thinking she might mean family, she needs clarification. "What doesn't?"
Still looking into her wife's eyes, she explains herself. "Ashley. The name means nothing to me, nothing to my family. I have no link to it, whatsoever. I want to change my name to Bonasera. As soon as possible."
Stella feels a small burst of pride at Eden's words but knows deep down this is part of Eden running away again, and she also feels the need to point out one small problem to her wife.
"Eden sweetie. It's your name."
Ashley looks at Stella like she's an idiot, she is fully aware it's her name. Stella obviously sees the look and can't help but smile. She explains herself.
"I mean, it's your actual name, as in it's what people call you."
Ashley sighs, Stella is of course right, she hasn't thought this through properly, she sinks back into her chair. Stella suddenly has an idea.
"You can't get rid of Ashley, it does mean a lot to you, regardless of what you think right now. I do understand what you mean about it not really linking to your family."
Ashley immediately perks up. "Yeah, it has no links to anything, you're my family now, Bonasera is the only name that makes any sense to me."
"Let me finish." Ashley gently put into her place by her wife; she leans back in the chair again and waits for Stella to finish. Stella smiles at her compliance.
"We can make it mean something." This gets Ashley's interest, but after her last telling off she doesn't speak.
"We can make it mean everything to our family. I'll change my name to Ashley."
Ashley is taken aback. The tears that she thought were long gone come back with a vengeance. Stella moves round the desk and sits on the arm of Eden's chair, putting her arms around her and kissing her on the head. Ashley just looks up.
"You'd do that for me?" If possible the love for her wife has just increased.
"Yeah, like you say, we were gunna do it eventually anyway, and I just hate the thought of a doubled barred name, plus I kinda like Stella Ashley, it has a good ring to it."
Stella smiles down, it really isn't a big deal, and she'd already thought about it in the past, and already settled, that she would be the one to change her name; it just made the most sense. She has no problems in bringing it forward. If she's honest she really excited that they will share a surname. She's found she loves these little marriage things when they pop up, initially she used to smile every time she looked down at her wedding ring, or saw Eden wearing hers, Stella just loves being married.
"You are the most amazing woman." Ashley can barely get her words out.
Stella just leans forward and kisses her on the lips. "You have to do something for me now."
"Anything." Ashley means it too, Stella could ask her to do literally anything right now and she would do it.
"You have got to let go of this anger sweetie."
"I know. I'm trying." She nods her head as she speaks, Ashley really is trying, she knows it stupid to be mad, and it serves no purpose.
"You've gotta stop dwelling on what you've missed out on." They both know she is referring to what a wonderful father Mac would've been had he been given the chance. Stella continues.
"Think more about what you've gained. I mean you've gained a parent Eden."
Ashley lets the words wash over her, she suddenly realises something.
"You're wrong." Now it's Stella's turn to be taken aback. "I gained two."
Stella knows instantly that Eden is referring to the fact that Amelia finally came through for her in the end, and acted like the mother Ashley wishes she had, had all of her life.
Stella just kisses Eden on the head again. Ashley rises from the chair causing Stella to do the same.
"I feel bad." Stella is surprised by Eden's confession. Ashley sheepishly tries to explain herself.
"For Mac I mean. Usually in times of crises, you would be there for him. But I guess you kinda feel like in this instance you've gotta be here for me first."
"Well of course." Stella doesn't really know where she is going with this.
"I'm gunna be fine. How could I not be, married to someone like you." Ashley smiles at Stella, who can't help but grin like a Cheshire cat. Reduced to a school girl again. Ashley finishes what she wants to say.
"And I know no matter what, you're here for me. I get to go home with you. At the moment Mac has no one."
This is a sobering thought to Stella. "Go to him."
Stella looks at Eden. "He needs you as much as I do. More even. Go to him and make sure he's alright, and as soon as I'm ready I'll do the same. Were all family now. Even more so than before."
"Are you sure you'll be okay?"
Ashley smiles. "With you fighting my corner, I'll be a lot better than okay."
She moves in and kisses Stella, soft and lingering on the lips. Stella smiles, and exits her office, heading straight for Macs.
Ashley shakes her head. What a day. She decides to go in search of Adam and Flack; no doubt they are worried about her too.
She steps out of Stella's office, and walks into the main hall of the lab. She is distracted by the elevator pinging. She looks up to see none other than Audrey Harbridge, her grandmother step off, bag in hand. Audrey see's Eden straight away, and walks straight over to her.
"I got the first plane over."
She looks at her granddaughter not really knowing what to expect. The main emotion of Ashley's day returns 100 fold. The Rage starts to build within her again.
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