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
By EdenAshley


Part 22

Ashley hates flying. Like really hates it with a passion. It terrifies her, she knows it's quite ridiculous, and everyone always tells her it's the safest form of transport, blah blah blah, but it's just not natural for this many people to be stuck in a metal tube, this high off the ground. She is currently preparing herself for takeoff, unfortunately today she has to fly, she Stella, Mac and Audrey are about to leave the ground heading for Chicago, for her mother Amelia's funeral.

Ashley is currently clutching Stella's hand in a death grip, eyes closed she can't bear to watch as the plane takes off. Stella who had no idea previously, of her wife's phobia, is trying her best to comfort her, but is also slightly amused by the look of pure panic and fear on her face. Stella has never had an issue with flying.

The seats directly in front of Stella and Ashley are occupied by Mac and Audrey. There is an uneasy silence between the two, they haven't had the chance to speak since all of this happened. Although they may well get a chance now, they will be stuck next to each other for a couple of hours at least. Mac feels quite angry and betrayed by Audrey, whereas Audrey just feels completely embarrassed, this could be a long flight.

Around 30 minutes later, Stella is still highly amused at her wife's fear; Ashley has just about calmed down, but now feels highly embarrassed. She can see Stella smirking at her through the corner of her eye. So much for the supportive wife routine. Ashley smirks to herself, revenge will be sweet, and planning it might take her mind off this awful journey.

Stella squeezes Eden's hand, causing her to be disturbed from her thoughts; she looks over at her wife inquisitively.

"You feeling a little calmer now?" Stella can't help the smirk that appears on her face. Which Ashley reciprocates, ah yes revenge will indeed be sweet. She also feels a little self-conscious.

"Yeah, so I never really mentioned my fear of flying huh?" She smiles sheepishly and looks down at their interlinked fingers.

Stella can't help herself. "Yeah I never had you down as someone with irrational fears."

Ashley takes the bait, irrational? How dare she, her head whips up. "Irrational?" the disbelief is apparent from her tone.

"I don't know how you dare, it's not irrational, it's unnatural is what it is. . ."

Stella bursts out laughing, it's at this point Ashley realises her wife is indeed trying to wind her up. Ashley goes into ultra childish strop mode, and drops Stella's hand and turns in her chair away from her. Bottom lip well and truly out.

Stella tries to apologise through her laughter. "Aw Shorty come on, don't be like that. . ."

Meanwhile on the row in front . . .

Audrey decides she needs to make her peace with Mac; she goes about it in her own brash fashion.

"You know Mac, Eden has forgiven me, I don't see why you can't do the same."

Mac can't quiet believe his ears, he was at least expecting an apology of sorts, he looks over at Audrey, and it appears she is deadly serious. She seems to be waiting for Mac's response.

Flabbergasted he gives it. "Is that it? No apology, No I'm sorry, no nothing?"

"I won't apologise for trying to do the best for my family. I'm sorry you missed out on her life Mac, but you've got a chance to put that right now. A chance that hasn't been afforded to my daughter. I can't change the past, there's no point holding all that anger inside. We can start afresh now, as a family."

Audrey holds her hand out to Mac as a peace offering, Mac just looks at it. Audrey's words wash over him; he knows she's correct, if he wants a real father daughter relationship with Eden, there's no way that could happen if he and Audrey are at loggerheads. Plus she's also right, what's the point in being angry and holding grudges.

He reaches out and grabs her hand, smiling. "Fresh Start."

Audrey reciprocates his smile, pulls his hand and envelopes him into a huge hug, he can't help but mirror her, embracing her warmly and smiling into the hug.

Stella has stopped teasing Ashley, and Ashley has forgiven Stella for her earlier actions, and they have relaxed into the flight. Ashley realises she still hasn't told Stella a few things about her family back home, she looks over at her wife who is currently flicking through a magazine, she decides no time like the present.

"Hey Stel."

This causes Stella to look up from her mag, she is met by Eden's smiling face, which of course as usual makes her smile, she wonders if this reaction to her wife's smile will ever fade. She hopes not.

"So there's a couple of things of things you don't know about my family back in Chicago."

This has Stella intrigued. "Oh?"

"Yeah. I kinda have a half brother and sister."

The shock must be apparent on Stella's face, because Eden sees it and starts to panic, and frantically starts explaining.

"Well, I say brother and sister, the boy is only and 15, and the girl is 8, I've never met them myself, I was kicked out long before they came along, but they do exist, and technically we have the same blood running through us."

She chances a look up at Stella, who now understands why she's never mentioned them before; she does have a few questions though.

"How do you even know about them?"

"Gran, although she didn't really have anything to do with Mum, she always had access to them, apparently their dad is a pretty good guy. He arranged everything."

"So you're going to be meeting them for the first time at the funeral?"

"Well actually they'll be staying at Gran's estate with us. So really we'll meet them as soon as we get there."

Something else catches Stella's attention. "Wait a minute, her estate?"

Ashley laughs. "Have you not realised how loaded she is yet, she sold me our apartment for $100." She emphasises her point by giving Stella an 'are you stupid face'. Which she immediately picks up on and tuts.

"I guess I never really thought about it." She really hadn't, she knew Eden's family was well off, but she didn't know they were Rich.

"Yeah you married into money baby." She wiggles her eyebrows which causes Stella to laugh.

"While we're on the subject of families." This is something Ashley has been, meaning to bring up again ever since they had last discussed it. Again Stella is enchanted by her wife; she says nothing, just listens intently.

"My name." Ashley takes a deep breath, and sees Stella is about to protest, so speaks again quickly before she has the chance.

"I know we discussed it, and that you'd be more than happy to take my name." Stella nods in agreement, she can tell Eden still hasn't finished.

"And that would be fine, except to me family is about legacy, as well as future. 'Ashley' would have represented our future, but neither of our pasts. I want Bonasera."

Again Stella goes to protest again, with the initial argument she had when they first discussed this. Again Ashley speaks before she has a chance, almost reading her mind.

"I know my name is Ashley. So I thought I would keep it on, as a middle name, that way it's still technically my name, so it won't be weird that people still call me it."

Stella smiles; if she's honest she's delighted that they will be carrying on her family name. "You've really been thinking about this haven't you?"

Ashley smirks. "Yeah, it's really important to me. I can't wait to be Eden Alexa Ashley Bonasera. What do you reckon?"

Stella radiates with pride, "It's perfect. Thank you."

Ashley pulls her in for a hug, and kisses her on the head. "No problem, Mrs Bonasera."

Stella beams into the hug. She really does have the most perfect wife, and the most perfect marriage.

The foursome had arrived at Audrey's Chicago estate about an hour ago, Stella Ashley and Mac had been briefly introduced to Eden's half brother and sister, Zane and Sienna, and they didn't say two words, which has really disheartened Ashley. They were also introduced to their father, Samuel Parker, he was a lot warmer. They had then been shown to their rooms, where they quickly dropped their stuff off. Now everyone is sitting in the main living room.

There's an eerie almost uncomfortable silence in the room, the two children are currently clinging onto their grandmother, they are obviously close the three of them, Ashley feels sad at the sight; she wishes she could have had the opportunity to get close to them too.

"You look a lot like her you know." Ashley is startled by Samuel speaking, she knows he is referring to Amelia, there is no denying they are mother and daughter. Ashley doesn't really know what to say so she just smiles back at him, he returns the smile, and then starts to speak again.

"Amelia left us all letters, we waited until you got here, but I guess we can open them now."

He pulls out a mass of envelops from somewhere within the chair he's sitting in, he starts to dispense them, he has one, Ashley and Audrey too, and the kids appear to have one between them. Then more surprisingly he passes one to Stella and to Mac too. Samuel speaks once more.

"It was Amelia's strict instruction that we all read them together and out loud."

Ashley takes a deep breath, she's not really sure what to expect, her mother of course seemed to change in the end, but Ashley had suffered for over 16 years prior to that, and prior to her latest visit, Amelia had always taken pleasure in seeing Ashley squirm, she eyes the envelop suspiciously.

Nobody else has said a word. "I'll go first." It appears Samuel is feeling brave. He sighs and then rips open his envelop.

"Samuel. You were the love of my life. I hope you know that. You tried so hard to make me a better person, and I'm only sorry I didn't do more, to be someone like you, someone you could have been proud of. Look after to my two beautiful babies, and know that I will always be watching over you. Love you always. Amelia."

He really stumbles over the last few words, the emotion clearly getting to him, as it is to everyone in the room, Ashley can barely swallow, Stella just grabs her hand, tears threatening her eyes. Ashley doesn't think she could read hers if she wanted too, so she's glad when Audrey is next to speak.

"Zane, why don't you read, yours and Sienna's out."

The young man is clearly apprehensive, but he slowly tears at the envelop, and then steadies himself as his eyes scan the page, he clears his throat before starting to read.

"Zane and Sienna, my two darlings." This is apparently too much for the young Sienna already, she starts to cry, Audrey immediately pulls her closer, and starts to comfort her. Zane continues.

"Know that mommy loves you very much, and is very sad that she won't be around anymore. But I know in my heart, that you will have the most amazing lives, because you have the most amazing family, your father, you loving grandmother, and your older sister Eden. My final wish is that you two get to know Eden, and try and go some way into making up for the way I treated her. Do it for me please kids? I will always be alive in your hearts. Love you always."

Zane wipes a tear from his eye quickly, he obviously trying to stick to his image as a hard teenage boy. Ashley's emotional barrier has broken, tears now freely falling. Stella is gently rubbing her hand, trying to provide some comfort. Audrey looks over at Ashley, and decides she should be the one to go next.

Copying her grandson she clears her throat to indicate that she will take her turn. A series of watery eyes turn their attention to the old lady.

"Mum. Thank you for everything. For looking after all 3 of my children, and looking after Eden, when I was too stupid and to stubborn to do it myself. I'm sorry; I couldn't be the daughter you hoped for, the daughter you deserved. But I want you to know, you were the best mum. And I'm so sorry. Love always, your infuriating child, Amelia."

Audrey laughs as she reads the last line. She feels a contentment at her daughters words, she feels at ease and at peace, she's really proud of her daughter for what she's done, she can't help feeling sorrow at the fact that it took her impending death to make her come to her senses.

Mac decides that out of the three that are left to read, he should probably be next to go. He opens his envelop, the rest of the room looks to him at the sound of the ripping paper, he grabs the sheet, and straightens it out.

"Mac. I assume by now, you've probably done the DNA test; I mean you are all scientists after all. And knowing the kind of man you are I know you will have joined Eden to my funeral, so that's why I included you in this little morbid ritual. Really and truly there are only two words I want to say to you. I'm Sorry."

Mac just lowers his head. Deep in thought.

Stella knows that she needs to go next. She releases her hand from Eden's, her face is now tear stained, like everyone else's in the room.

"Stella. We obviously didn't get off to the best start, but I know you and Eden will still be together. I could see the same deep love radiating in both of your eyes. I owe you an apology. I'm sorry. If there is one thing I'm absolutely sure of I know you will look after my daughter. So for that, thank you."

Ashley has been dreading this moment. The rest of the letters have calmed her slightly, she no longer thinks this is an extravagant attempt by her mother to make her feel terrible. But now she's more worried she might have some sort of emotional breakdown. She can feel all eyes on her, she is of course the only person who hasn't read her letter, she slides the paper out, and takes one last huge exhale to steady herself.

"Eden. My dear sweet beautiful Eden. Where do I start? How do I begin to tell you how sorry I am? I don't think there's enough paper in the world for me to thoroughly express my remorse."

Ashley takes a deep breath, faltering, she swallows the lump in her throat and continues.

"For me to treat you the way I did, and for you to still turn into an amazing young woman with an amazing career speaks volumes. If Sienna grows up to be half the woman you turned out to be, I'll be a happy mother."

This really hits Ashley and she struggles to get the next line out through her tears, Stella is trying her best to comfort her, but her own heart is breaking.

"Know Eden that I love you, I always loved you, I never stopped despite what you might think, but know that above all else, I am very very proud of you. Love Mum."

Ashley can't really control her emotion. Stella is rubbing her back frantically trying to think of ways to make the pain go away.

The whole room is surprised when Sienna jumps from her grandmother's lap, and tentatively makes her way over to her older sister. She looks quite apprehensive, but smiles when Ashley looks up at her, she throws her arms round Ashley's neck, pulling into a heart wrenching hug. Stella heart hits bursting point, she knows how much this will mean to her wife.

Zane who is still quietly sobbing, follows his sister's suit a little faster he makes his way over to the embracing siblings and throws his own arms around both their necks, they instantly accept him into the hug, and that's how they stay, three siblings who only met mere hours ago united in grief.

Audrey looks at her three grandchildren, now the tears reach her eyes. This is something she has dreamed of for years.

The funeral came and went in somewhat a blur. It was a beautiful service; Amelia was buried in the family plot next to her father, Audrey's husband. Everybody had come back to Audrey's estate for the wake, but the last few remnants of guests have just left. It's been an emotional day for Eden, made worse by the fact that she Stella and Mac have to head back to New York extremely early in the morning.

It's around 7.30pm Ashley is shattered, so is everybody else, Sienna, who is already ready for bed, trudges over to her older sister, with her favourite story book in hand.

"Will you read my bedtime story?" She looks at the floor sheepishly, scared Eden will say no. Ashley just smiles.

"Of course I will sweetie." She rises from the chair and takes Sienna's hand before leading her upstairs.

Stella smiles, and looks over at Audrey and Samuel, both of whom have stopped what they were doing, namely talking to each other, and the look of happiness and pride on both faces, is brilliant, they both look over at Stella knowingly. Samuel rises from his chair and settles next to Stella.

"She's a remarkable woman, your wife."

Stella is slightly taken aback, of course she agrees, her wife is amazing, but she wasn't expecting that from him. Samuel doesn't seem to notice her surprise, he continues with what he was saying.

"Most people wouldn't have forgiven Amelia for what she did. For Eden to not only forgive her, but to come here."

He gets emotional at this point, Stella reaches across and grabs his hand, something he's grateful for.

"I want you to know, I always wanted Amelia to let them meet, Zane, Sienna and Eden, I mean. I hope they can try and have some sort of relationship now."

"I'm sure Eden would love that. If there's one thing I know means the world to her, its family." Stella smile, Samuel reciprocates.

"And you of course." The confusion from Stella must be apparent this time. Samuel explains.

"Well you're part of this family now too. So it's important for us all to get to know you too."

Stella can feel the tears starting to form in her eyes and the lump in her throat. She knew when she married Eden that the two of them would become a family, along with Audrey of course, but in such a short space of time, she's acquired, a father in law, in Mac, and a brother and sister in law, in Zane and Sienna, as well as Samuel, she's not quite sure what to refer to him as, but she knows he is definitely family, the warmth and love just radiates off of him. She spent her entire life yearning to belong, and now here she is part of her very own family.

Sienna had fallen asleep pretty quickly, bless her. She was shattered. Eden tucked her in and spent a few minutes just looking at her, she reminded her so much of herself at that age, there's no refuting that they are sisters. She vows there and then to make up for lost time with her siblings.

She quietly lets herself out of Sienna's bedroom, and immediately bumps into Zane in the hall. He looks rather sheepish; it appears he's been waiting for her. He's looking at his feet, still dressed in his black suit, it seems he is a typical 15 year old boy, so Ashley decides to break the ice.


He looks up immediately, and can't help but smile when he sees Ashley smiling back at him.


When Zane doesn't speak immediately again, Ashley decides to take initiative. "How you holding up?"

"I'm okay considering." It seems that Zane is finally going to get round to saying exactly what he wants to say.

"I want to apologize." He looks up at his sister, who is wearing a puzzled expression.

"On behalf of Mom. I always knew about you, and I just assumed, you must have done something so wrong for her to do what she did. Because you know she would never have done anything like that to me or Sienna." He takes a breath, Ashley can sense there is more to come, the air is getting thinner, and she's not sure where this is going.

"When Mom sat me down, just before she went to find you in New York, and explained what had happened, and why it had happened, I couldn't believe my ears, you know?"

He chances a look up at Eden to make sure she is still following, which she's is, but still isn't really sure where he's going with this.

"I vowed to Mom, there and then, that I would spend the rest of my life trying to make up for her mistakes, to make sure that you know that you're part of this family, and that although it took mom far too long to realise it, to know that she wanted you as part of this family too."

Ashley has no words, just tears, she attempts to swallow the lump in her throat in the hope that she can formulate a sentence, but it doesn't work. Zane it appears has also let the emotion get to him, tears streaming down his face too. The brother and sister look at each other, and just instantly fall into each other, sobbing, Ashley is holding him so tight she never wants to let him go, and Zane is embracing back just as hard.

Eventually they pull back, smiling and laughing, both feeling a little embarrassed by their show of emotion.

Zane decides to quickly change the subject, to something else he's been curious about.

"So you guys live in New York huh?"

Ashley immediately picks up on his excitement. "Yeah, you're more than welcome to visit whenever you want."

Zane smiles. "That's exactly what I wanted to hear."

He smiles and Ashley ruffles his hair, and puts her arm round him as they head back downstairs. Happy.

Later on that evening Stella Mac and Ashley, said their emotional goodbyes to Samuel, Zane and Audrey, who was staying on in Chicago to help get Zane and Sienna settled back into some sort of normal routine.

The Trio had to head to the airport at 3am, to make sure they got their early flight back to New York. They are currently on the plane, waiting for takeoff. Mac again is sitting in front of the two ladies, and is currently trying to get some much needed sleep, something which Stella is also dying to do, but she knows from the first flight that she needs to be here to comfort Eden.

She slides her hand into Eden's and smiles at her wife, when she looks over at her, she looks a lot calmer that she did on the way to Chicago.

"How you feeling?"

"Really great." Ashley smiles, infectiously apparently as Stella's face immediately mirrors that of her wife. Initially she thinks Eden has misunderstood.

"I mean about our impending flight."

Ashley smiles. "You know what; I guess life is too short for irrational fears." She sticks he tongue out at Stella when she finishes, and a huge smile illuminates her face once more.

Stella couldn't be any prouder of her wife. She leans in and kisses her. She really can't wait to get back to New York and properly start married life with this amazing woman.

Part 23

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