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 25

It was almost three years ago that Eden Ashley had come waltzing into her life. She'll never forget the day she walked into the main lab with Mac, Stella was so pissed. She giggles as she remembers, looking back now, with hindsight it's clear to her, that Eden was under her skin from the first second they met.

Now here they are a month away from celebrating a year of marriage, and Stella could not be happier. It's Sunday, and although she is on call, she and Eden have a rare day off together. Eden is currently making the most of this, and is still sleeping in their matrimonial bed, hardly surprising, they had quite a late night last night, Stella smiles as she recalls what they got up to, as soon as they got through the apartment door, clothes were discarded, they didn't actually make it to the bedroom, the first time.

Stella's cheeks blush as she allows her mind to wander; she always thought sex drive diminished with marriage, that certainly had not been the case for her. She wonders if this is because it is her first relationship with a woman, she had a lot to learn, and was certainly enjoying her lessons, and loving her teacher. She can't believe she had ever worried about that particular aspect of her relationship with Eden. She chuckles again as she looks out over New York City, she is in her wife's favourite place out on the balcony, and starts to think about what they can get up to today.

Her thoughts are short lived; she hears her cell phone ringing from the bedroom, and dejectedly makes her way to answer it. It appears that the shrill ringing has woken up her beautiful wife, as by the time she gets to the bedroom, Eden has answered the phone, and is tiredly chatting to whoever is on the other side, Stella assumes Mac. She takes a moment to take in the sight before her. Eden is sitting up in bed, naked, the sheets only covering part of her modesty, but most beautiful, is how adorable she looks; she always looks so cute when she first wakes up.

Stella can't help the grin that erupts onto her face at the vision in front of her. Ashley hangs up the phone, and thinks either her wife has finally cracked up, or she has something on her face. Stella is wearing the most insanely beautiful smile.

"Is everything okay?" Ashley has to ask, she needs to know what's put the smile on Stella's face.

"Everything is absolutely perfect." She lowers herself onto the bed, and pulls Eden in for a kiss. Ashley, as much as she doesn't want to, pulls back, if she didn't they'd be here all day.

"Yeah well don't get too comfy, you've gotta go to work." The frown that appears on Stella's face is amusing as is the small groan that accompanies it. "That was Mac, some murder that could be linked to a serial. Said he might need me later too. So we might get to spend the day together after all."

Stella smirks at her wife's obvious attempt at humour, she supposes the one good thing about working all the time, is at least they work together, so they still get to see each other. Stella skulks off to the shower, she guesses the sooner she gets to work the sooner she can get back.

Stella had arrived at work about an hour ago, Mac had realised quite quickly that the current murder that they were investigating, was the same MO as a serial killer from six years ago, back then he had plied his trade in Detroit, and unbelievably Eden had worked the case. It seems Stella will be spending the day with her wife; she is on her way in as they speak, but she hadn't been the lead on the case. Mac had immediately called Alex Santiago, she was Eden's supervisor at the time, and command on the case, she is also on her way, and her flight should be landing any second.

Eden and Alex caught the guy and put him away for life, but he was reported escaped a few months ago, the prison van that was transporting him to a doctor's appointment, was involved in an accident, although this term was used lightly. This latest murder has all the hallmarks of Daniel 'The Jackal' Garcia. If indeed it is the handy work of the Jackal, then they can be certain, that this current murder is the first of many, and they need to act fast, as he is renowned for moving rather quickly himself, a second victim is inevitable unfortunately.

Ashley is relatively pissed off, firstly at getting called in on her day off, on a Sunday to boot, but mostly at the fact that the incompetent prison service appear to have released a mad man into the wild. She storms into the main lab, frustrated, but adamant that she will do everything in her power to get the lunatic behind bars again, where he belongs.

As she strides into the lab, she is met immediately by three pairs of eyes, it seems Mac is taking this very seriously, as well as Mac and Stella; it appears Danny will also be working the case. Good, the more people the better, as far as Ashley is concerned. She is eager to get going.

"What do we know?"

Mac is straight into business mode, answering Eden's question, he can see a rugged determination in her eyes.

"Well he escaped about a week ago; this is the first victim that has turned up showing evidence of his trademarks."

"Meaning?" Ashley needs confirmation.

Mac sighs, "The eyes were removed and a love heart drawn in blood on the victims chest."

Now it's Ashley's turn to sigh. It certainly sounds like the jackal. She knows what she's about to say is unlikely, in light of Garcia's recent escape.

"Is there any chance it's a copy cat?"

Mac can tell Eden knows the answer to the question, and its more pure hope than expectation that she even articulated it.

"I think its unlikely Eden. But you and Detective Santiago are the experts, so perhaps you can shed more light."

Ashley's head snaps up at Mac's words, and the shocked expression on her face doesn't go unnoticed by Stella, nor does the fact she stumbles over her next words.

"Detective Santiago, is coming here? Is that really necessary? I mean I worked on the case too."

Mac who apparently hasn't noticed Eden's surprise, mainly because he's thumbing through the file as he's speaking, answers Eden nonchalantly.

"Well she's was lead on the case Eden, you know how it works. Plus she's already on route."

Not for the first time in this particular lab, Ashley feels light headed, like someone has tampered with the oxygen level in the room. Before she has a chance to protest, the lab door swings open again, and four sets of eyes look at the newcomer. They are greeted by a quite beautiful, dark haired olive skined, brown eyed woman, in her late thirties. Ashley's heart jumps into her throat, she is nervous, those familiar brown eyes tear right through her, Alex is wearing a confident smile that Ashley has definitely seen before, and which terrifies her. Stella is watching the two of them intently; these two were obviously more than just work colleagues. It seems Detective Santiago will be the one to break the awkward silence.

"Hello Eden." There's that confident smile again, it makes Ashley swallow hard, although she finds her throat is surprisingly dry.

Stella notices that Eden, immediately puts her hands behind her back, but she cannot understand why? As this thought continues to baffle her, it seems like Eden is going to respond.

"Detective Santiago. Good to see to again."

The wall that Stella had seen Eden put up many times before was in full force, it seems Detective Santiago has seen this wall many times before also, as she just laughs and shakes her head at Eden, before turning her back on her completely, and starting to talk shop.

Ashley chances looking over at Stella, she knows she can read her like a book, and will have seen how uncomfortable she was at being reunited with Alex. She was right, Stella's eyes are boring holes into her, she can't take it anymore, and just exits the room. Stella worried, turns to focus on what this newcomer, who it seems, is about to shake her world a little has to say.

The day had progressed well, Eden and Alex's input from the first time round had proved invaluable, and although they still hadn't caught the Jackal, they are sure he knows they are onto him, there have been no more murders, and they are confident it's only a matter of time before they catch him. Stella couldn't get her mind away from Eden and Alex's relationship, Eden had never mentioned her before, but Alex could barely look at Eden, and her wife looked almost ashamed. She had also removed her wedding ring, something which had really annoyed Stella. It appears that she is going to get to vent her annoyance as Eden strolls into her office, and sits in the chair opposite.

"Some day huh?" Eden has no idea how irritated Stella is at her. Stella cannot keep a lid on it.

"'Some day huh?'" Ashley is shocked by Stella's tone. "Seriously, that's all you've got to say to me?"

Well it appears Stella is angry. She had been so engrossed in the case; this morning's awkward encounter had momentarily slipped from her mind, not anymore. The look of shame immediately hits her face again. Stella see's it instantly.

"What the hell is going on Eden?"

"I will explain everything when see's gone."

Stella can't wait that long. "No Eden. I want you to explain now. I want you to explain why you've taken off your wedding ring."

Of course she noticed. I'm such an idiot; Ashley still can't bring herself to give the actual explanation, so she quietly blurts out a feeble excuse.

"You know I take them off when I'm working." She pulls on the chain round her neck, which has both her wedding ring and engagement ring nestled on, to stress to Stella that she still has them on her. Stella isn't impressed.

"No, you take them off if you're on a messy scene, which you haven't been today." She stands from her position behind the desk. Exasperated. "God Eden, you don't even take them off in the shower, but as soon as she walks into a room, you hide your hand, and the next time I see you, you've removed them completely? I will ask you again, what the hell is going on."

Ashley still can't bring herself to explain, she just looks down at the floor, hoping it will swallow her up. Stella's patience finally breaks.

"Fine, if you won't tell me I'll ask her." Stella practically runs out of her office, before Ashley's brain can process what's going on Stella is out the door, panic rises in Ashley, and she follows her without delay.

Stella doesn't have far to go, Alex Santiago is in the corridor with Danny, Stella sees Mac is also loitering, but she still can't stop herself.

Alex smiles as she see's Stella coming towards her, although the smile doesn't last long when she sees the expression on her face, she looks furious, Eden is also about five steps behind her, looking less furious, more terrified, it looks like all is about to be explained, Stella starts to speak, well its practically a shout.

"Can you please explain to me, why my wife is hiding the fact that she's married from you?"

Okay, now Alex is really confused, so much for the explanation.

"I'm sorry; I have no idea what you're talking about?" Stella can see from her expression that she is obviously telling the truth. She takes a deep breath, and tries to explain a little more calmly.

"My wife, Eden Ashley Bonasera, is hiding her wedding ring from you, can you please explain why? Because she seems to be incapable of doing so."

Ashley's heart sinks. Stella watches as the expression on Detective Santiago's face changes from one of quiet confidence to one of pure unadulterated pain. She looks straight past Stella at Eden. Stella still has no idea what's going on, but it appears her wife isn't going to come out of this smelling of roses.

"You're married." Its barely a whisper as it leaves Santiago's lips, and it more a statement, than a question, Stella can see tears filling up, not just in her eyes, but in Eden's too, they both just stand there looking each other directly in the eyes.

Pain is replaced by anger on Alex's face, now she's furious, she moves past Stella, towards Eden, who braces herself, she is almost certain whatever happens next will not be nice. She's right; she feels a flash of pain down her left cheek. Alex has slapped her with all her might; it's the least she deserves. She just takes it, doesn't try to protect herself, doesn't retaliate, just takes it. The slap has taken the others by surprise, no one's really sure what's going own. Stella's main worry is that her wife's been cheating on her, something she would never have thought possible, until this scene had played out in front of her eyes, she feels sick. But more than that she feel scared, terrified to her very soul.

Alex fully intended on fleeing, she had turned and started to move away from Eden, to do just that, but the anger she has building inside of her stops her, she needs to vent, she needs to make Eden feel even smaller than she no doubt already does. She turns back, Stella Mac and Danny all still watching intently.

"You're married." Again as she says it she can't believe it. "You spent seven years telling me that you couldn't commit, and now you're married?"

This time it was a question, not that Eden looked capable of providing her with an answer anytime soon. Stella calms a little; it seems her wife hasn't been cheating on her. Alex can't stop the flow of words falling from her mouth, nor can she hide the malice.

"Seven year's you told me it wasn't me, it was you. That you'd be alone for ever, that you'd never want to settle down." The tears are flowing freely now. Ashley has regained the ability to speak.

"I was always honest with you; I told you I didn't want anything serious."

"No Eden, you told me you were incapable of anything serious, after what happened with Katy. And now you're married." There's that sentence again. Alex is really on a roll now.

"You knew I was falling in love with you, you knew when I was in love you. You did nothing. You just kept stringing me along. You knew I was staying with you in the hope you would love me back. I forgave you everything you ever did to me."

"I'm sorry." Ashley truly is, she's aware of the kind of person she was before, and she hates herself for it, and for hurting Alex as much as she did. Now it's almost as if they have forgotten where they are, they've forgotten that, they're not the only one's there, that there are three other sets of eyes firmly on them. They continue, in their own little world.

"You're sorry? I really thought we could have something special you know. I remember the first time you stayed over, after three years of us sleeping together, and you leaving straight away. You finally stayed over, and I got my hopes up. Then you got scared again, and slept with someone else. And like an idiot I forgave you. I always forgave you, all those other women, I always forgave you. Because I loved you."

Ashley knows there is nothing she can say to make any of it right. She hates herself right now, for how she's acted, and she's so ashamed that her past is being relayed to the people who are a part of her current life. Alex still is going it seems.

"Do you know how hard it was for me when you left?"

Another thing that Ashley knows is not going to paint her in a good light. It seems that all of Ashley's skeletons are unquestionably coming out of the closet today.

"You didn't even tell me you were going. Do you know how humiliated I was when I got to work, and asked where you were, to be told that you'd taken a job in New York, and you'd left already? I didn't think you could hurt me anymore. But I gave you seven years of my life, and you were so adamant you couldn't commit, and then I come here. You've been here for less than three years, and you're married?"

Alex laughs, it's all see can do to not completely lose herself to tears. Now she does need to get away, she heads for the exit, where she'll go from there, she has no idea, Danny has the urge to follow her and make sure she's alright, so he heads in the direction of the exit too. Leaving a tear stained Ashley and a shocked Stella and Mac. Stella can't believe that Alex was talking about her wife; she can't believe the woman she loves could be so cruel. She can't cope with it all at the moment; she storms off to her office. Ashley just watches her go, what a mess.

Alex had made her way to the roof. She was angry, but more than anything she was devastated. When Eden arrived in Detroit, over ten years ago now, they had hit it off instantly. It didn't take long for them to fall into bed, and although Eden had warned her not to, it didn't take long for her to fall completely in love with her.

It wasn't that Eden didn't love her back, she could cope with that, because she had always said, she would never love anyone after Katy. She could handle Eden not loving her, because she thought that she would never love anyone. Obviously that was no longer the case, not only was she in love with someone else, but she was committed enough to get married. And all this in less than three years, when she had tried her utmost for almost seven. This was killing her.

She heard the roof door catch, and looked over to see Danny had joined her, they had got on straight away, and continued to bond throughout the day, so it was no surprise he had followed her, she tries in vain to wipe the tears from her eyes. Danny takes no notice of the tears; he just pulls her into a hug.

"Are you okay?"

"Not really."

The sobs come full flow again, Danny shushes her and kisses the top of her head, before hugging her even more tightly.

Alex can't help but hate this. Eden has a perfect life here, a wife, a great team around her, good friends. All of the things she had wanted to give her back in Detroit. The emotion she is feeling is quickly subsiding, in Danny's warm embrace the upset feeling is quickly disbanding, and a steely resolve takes over her, if Eden couldn't be happy and have that lifestyle with her, then she couldn't have it with anyone.

The tears have stopped now, Alex has quickly stopped feeling sorry for herself. Sorrow has been replaced as the main thing on her mind by revenge. And she would enjoy it.

Meanwhile back down in the lab, Ashley has managed to compose herself, and as bad as she feels for Alex, her main concern is Stella, and the look of utter disgust she gave her as she was retreating to her office. Ashley as she has done many times before, walks into Stella's office, never before has she felt as apprehensive as she does now.

Stella looks up, and sighs, not a good sign. Ashley takes a seat and just looks down at the desk, while she tries to think of a good place to start, to try and explain. Stella can't wait.

"Was everything she said true?"

Ashley looks up, and immediately wishes she hadn't, the disappointment in Stella's face kills her. She knows she has to be honest.

"Yes." The shame as she says it is clear.

"You're a cheat?" Not for the first time Ashley can't bring herself to answer.

"And a heartless one at that. Who are you? I feel like I don't know you anymore."

Ashley immediately panics. She has to explain herself, Stella has to understand. She starts to frantically try to clarify.

"I was 22 when I arrived in Detroit; Katy hadn't even been dead for two years. I told Alex I wasn't capable of anything serious, and she said she understood that."

Stella cuts her off. "You were with her for seven years, are you telling me you didn't know she was in love with you? You should have finished with her as soon as you knew it was more than just a fling. Instead you strung her along for seven years. Seven years Eden."

"My head was so messed up."

Stella believes it probably was to begin with, but she finds it hard to believe that it still was seven years down the line. Her brain quickly switches to the other aspect of the story that had her in disbelief.

"After seven years." She can't help but emphasize the length of time again; it's like a dagger through Eden's heart. Stella continues. "Did you really just up and leave for New York without telling her?"

Ashley feels her eyes filling up again, of course if she could do it all again, she would do it all differently, but at the time, it was all so consuming she just had to get away, for herself, she didn't really think too much about how Alex was feeling, she realises now just how selfish she had been. Her wife is still waiting for an answer.


"And have you spoken to her since?" Stella has to know just how much of a self-centred coward her wife has been.

"No." Ashley's eyes are now firmly engrossed with the floor again.

"So you were with this woman, for seven years, you just up and leave, and then don't speak to her for three. Don't even have the decency to tell her you've met someone else, and gotten married?"

Ashley doesn't really know how to verbalise why she did what she did, she was a different person back then. She was a mess. Truth be told she was still a mess when she arrived in New York; the first time her life started to make sense again was when she met Stella. And yes she should have told Alex they were getting married, but Detroit, and the aftermath of Katy's murder really was the lowest she's ever been, and it hadn't been somewhere she had wanted to revisit, at all. Before she has a chance to try and say any of this to Stella, she speaks first.

Stella is confused, is this still the woman she married. She needs time alone to think, to try and get her head round everything, and without thinking about bad it might sound.

"I can't believe you would be so unkind. I need time to think."

Ashley panics. "Stella."

Stella ignores her, and heads for the door, just before she gets there she turns back to face Eden, who looks absolutely devastated.

"I don't want you to come home tonight. I need to be alone."

And with that final statement, Stella leaves the room, and Ashley's heart feels like its stopped beating.

Well the happy news for the day was that they had apprehended the Jackal, and he was in secure police custody, quite a result. Unhappily nothing has improved on a personal level for Ashley, Stella hadn't been able to make eye contact with her for the rest of the day, and she just left and went home when shift was over.

Ashley can't quite believe her rapid change in fortunes, this morning she had been so happy. Now, she is dying inside. She does what she does best in this kind of situation; she had grabbed her boys and hit a bar. That's where they are now, Ashley, Adam and Flack, all nursing beers; it had taken the two of them a lot of effort to get Ashley to not have something stronger.

"Are you sure she told you not to go home?"

Ashley and Flack both just look at Adam in disbelief, neither however has the energy or the inclination to come up with a sarcastic response, so instead they just take a swig of beer.

The three of them are all surprised to see Danny roll up to their table beer in hand, he seems to have taken quite the shine to Alex today, Ashley was almost certain he would also have a problem with her. But he just sits down in silence, and joins the rest of them in taking a swig of beer. It seems like quiet contemplation is the order of the day. That is until Ashley simply can't keep this particular question to herself anymore.

"She's going to forgive me right?" She looks up hopefully at the three guys. "Stella I mean."

The three guys take pity on her, and to be fair although they can understand Stella's current feelings, there's not a chance they could see the two of them not working it out. Flack voices what all three of them are thinking.

"Of course she will Ash. It's just a bit of shock, to think you were ever like that." It was a shock to them all, so it must have been ten times more shocking to Stella.

They stayed there like that for quite some time, truth be told Ashley is now a little tipsy, as are the rest of the guys, the sombre mood had lifted about 5 drinks previously and the usual banter had taken over. Although Ashley was still terrified about her marriage, she knows there's nothing she can do about it tonight, so she may as well try to have a good time.

Even though it seems that the good times maybe about to come to an abrupt end. Alex walks up to the table, everybody instantly stops talking. Alex can tell she has brought an atmosphere to the group; she smiles at Danny who quickly returns it, before she speaks.

"Eden can I talk to you please? In private."

Ashley looks at the guys, without saying a word she slides off her bar stool and follows Alex out into the street. Alex takes a seat on the curb, and Ashley mirrors her actions sitting down next to her. They both stare at the road, neither really knowing what to say. Ashley decides she should be the one to start; after all, this is all her fault.

"I'm sorry. I know you probably don't believe me, but I am."

Alex smiles. "I believe you."

Now it's Ashley's turn to smile. "Thank you."

"I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to cause any trouble between you and Stella." The truth is she's not really sorry but she's trying hard to put her plan for revenge into action.

"You didn't, that was all me too. I should have been honest with her, and I should have been honest with you about coming to New York."

"You and I was never going to work Eden, deep down I always knew that. You were just so hard to let go. You probably did me a favour coming to New York, nothing gives you closure quite like a 600 mile distance."

She chuckles, but it's tinged with sadness. "Do you think the two of you will be okay?"

Ashley frowns. "I hope so." She looks up at Alex for the first time, into those deep brown eyes. Alex almost gets lost in Eden's sea of blue; so much emotion is on show in those eyes. She snaps out of it, now is her chance. She puts her hand onto Eden's face, and strokes her cheek, all the time never breaking eye contact. Encouragingly Eden doesn't look away either. Now or never she guesses. She moves closer, and leans in, their lips meet momentarily.

Ashley is torn, the last thing she wants to do is hurt Alex even more, but there's no way in hell she is going to cheat on her wife. Rather than pull away she moves her head down, moving her lips away from Alex' and quietly and as gently as she can she utters,


Alex should have known really. "Wow you really have changed."

"I love her." This is like a knife to the heart for Alex.

Ashley picks herself up off the pavement and starts to re-enter the bar, she turns back to Alex, still feeling pretty terrible and not really wanting to leave her sitting there, alone, on the curb.

"Hey, when's your flight back to Detroit?"

Alex looks up slightly startled that Eden is still there. "Erm, not until the morning."

"You wanna have a drink with us?"

Alex can't believe it; Eden is giving her another opportunity to put her plan into action. She just smiles, rises from the curb and follows Eden back into the club. This night could turn out to be an interesting one after all.

Last night had gone on into the small hours, and in all fairness Ashley, Adam, Flack, Danny and Alex had a brilliant night. But Ashley in particular was more than a little wasted by the end of it. She had woken up in a random hotel close to the bar, and consequently close to work, thank god. It appeared Adam hadn't made it home either, Ashley found him asleep on the futon in the room. They are both feeling exceptionally fragile this morning, but Ashley was determined to get into work as quickly as possible. She needed to see Stella, and make sure her marriage was going to be okay.

Stella is in the main lab, she had the worst night's sleep ever last night, she hated not having Eden with her. That coupled with the fact that she's now almost certain she has over reacted, they all have pasts after all, the Eden that Alex Santiago was describing, was not her wife, not even close. The door to the lab swings open, she looks up quickly hoping to see Eden, instead she is met by Lindsay, who looks a little like she feels. Tired to say the least.

"Hey Lindsay. You okay?"

Lindsay rubs her temples, obviously she isn't okay. "Danny didn't come home last night, and I can't reach him on his cell."

"Eden didn't come home last night either. Well mainly because I told her not to." Stella smiles, it quickly turns into a frown.

Before Lindsay has a chance to respond, the door goes again, this time Stella sees the person she really wants to. Eden, looking awful.

"Hey guys." They both smile at her. "Stella can I have a word in private?"

"Of course." Stella is eager to get Eden into her office. But Lindsay has a few questions of her own.

"Eden, was Danny with you last night?"

"Yeah, a few drinks with the guys turned into a bucket load. I hope he didn't wake you when he got in, must have been pushing two thirty?"

"Was it just you and the guys?"

Eden is slightly confused by Lindsay's line of questioning, but too hung over and too eager to talk to Stella, to really over analyse it, so she just answers honestly.

"Err, yeah, oh and Alex."

This gets Stella's attention. "Alex was with you?"

"Yeah, is that a problem?"

"No." Stella not sure why she feels so jealous, probably because Alex had seven years in Eden's life, and she had less than half of that. But she trusts Eden.

They make their way to Stella's office and close the door quickly behind them, Stella sighs and immediately sits in her chair, and Ashley sits on the desk directly in front of her.

"You look like shit." Stella's comment causes Ashley to laugh out loud.

"I feel like shit." This makes Stella smirk; she can't help her next confession.

"I hated you not being with me last night." She sheepishly looks up at Eden, who just stares back at her with pure love radiating in her eyes.

"I'm completely in love with you." The honesty in Eden's voice takes Stella's breath away. Ashley continues. "That's the difference. I was an idiot back then, that's not who I am anymore."

Stella rises and plants a kiss on her wife's lips. "I know, I was just shocked that that's ever who you were."

"I was messed up, I'm not proud of it, and I could have handled things with Alex a hell of a lot better."

Stella just nods, Ashley can tell there's something else on her mind. "Are we going to be okay?"

Stella nods. "We're gunna be just fine." Ashley likes the words that she's hearing, but not the look on her wife's face.

"Hey what is it?" Ashley gives Stella a look that suggests she won't drop it.

"I guess I'm just a little jealous that you spent the evening with Alex."

Ashley can't help the smirk that appears on her face. Stella smiles back. "You don't have to look so happy about it."

Ashley remembers the incident from early on in the evening, she decides to be honest with Stella, she can't help the nagging feeling at the back of her mind, that if she isn't it might come back to bite her. Stella is slightly worried at Eden's change in facial expression.

"She tried to kiss me." The rage builds in Stella immediately. The nerve of that woman.

"What did you do?" Stella asks through gritted teeth, not really sure she wants to know the answer. Ashley is a little put out that Stella thinks' she 'did' anything.

"I told her I was in love with you."

Stella breathes a sigh of relief. "Good now let's get to work, the sooner this day is over the better.

They exit the office and head out into the hall, it appears something is about to happen, Mac is standing looking unimpressed arms folded, Flack and Adam, looks as bad as Ashley does, and it appears Danny has returned and found Lindsay, and Alex is standing in front of them all, that irritatingly confident smile is back playing on her lips. She turns and sees that Eden and Stella are joining the group. She starts to speak.

"Oh good, here they are."

Ashley is confused, and voices as much. "What's going on?"

"I'm here for a quick confession." Now Ashley is really confused, she isn't the only one, everyone looks a little perplexed, except perhaps Danny who is looking at the floor. Alex continues, the full force of her venom is on Eden.

"You ruined my life. And a quick apology, and an 'I've changed for the better' act doesn't really change that fact. I hate how you have made me feel, and I hate that you now have this perfect life here in New York, and I'm stuck back in Detroit, personal life in tatters, because of how to treated me for seven years."

Ashley really is confused, she was sure that Alex had accepted her apology last night, the fact that they had all had a really good night together seemed to be testament to that, but apparently not. Alex continues.

"So as childish as it may seem, I decided on a little revenge, decided I would try and ruin this Brady Bunch family, we all get along so well, we're all perfect, little set up you all got going on here."

Ashley glances over at Adam and Flack, who look as confused as she feels, what on earth does Alex think she's done? They're all about to find out. She focuses less on Eden now, and turns her body so she'd facing the whole group.

"So team." She says it teasingly, she is enjoying this. "Little story for you. I had sex with one of your guys last night."

This makes everyone really take notice, Stella's eyes are immediately on Eden looking for any sort of reaction, and to be fair to her she looks as shocked as everyone else.

Alex looks like she's coming to the end of her little speech; she looks absolutely delighted with herself, huge bright smile on her face. "Good luck trying to figure out who."

And with that she turns and heads straight for the elevator. Happy.

Mac knows he needs to get a handle on this before it gets out of hand, he needs them to be focused on work today not who's sleeping with who. Inside he's praying his daughter hasn't done anything stupid, but he quickly sends them on assignment, being careful to separate his two married couples, the way he sees it, Eden is obviously favourite to have slept with Santiago, but the way Lindsay is looking at Danny, Mac's not so sure what's going on. It amazes him how much trouble these kids get themselves into, in their personal lives.

The day had been a trying one, but they had gotten through it, and quickly headed home, and that's where they are now, sitting at the island in the kitchen. Stella doesn't want to ask the question she's dying to ask, because she doesn't want Eden to think she doesn't trust her. Ashley however knows exactly what's on her mind.

"I wonder who it was." Ashley decides to take the gentle approach. "If it was anyone at all."

Stella is glad that Eden is the one to broach the subject, she decides to be coy. "Who what was?"

"Come on Stella, I know you've been worried about what Alex said all day."

It seems Eden can read her like a book. "Yeah I guess you're right." Busted.

Ashley quickly puts her out of her misery. "It wasn't me." She looks her dead in the eyes as she says it. Stella immediately knows she is telling the truth, she can read her wife's eyes so well.

"Phew." She chuckles, and Ashley joins her, but quickly gets serious again.

"The only thing is, if it did in fact happen, then we should be worried about who it was."

Stella is confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well Adam, crashed in my hotel room with me, so it couldn't have been him, I asked Flack, and he swears it wasn't him. There's no reason for him to lie, he's a single guy."

Stella is intrigued, but says nothing. Ashley continues to explain, why she is so worried. "Stella, the only other person out with us last night was Danny."

The penny immediately drops for Stella. "Lindsay said he didn't come home last night. He wouldn't be that stupid would he?"

"I dunno, he was pretty wasted."

They are pulled from their thoughts by the sound of the doorbell, it's around 9.30pm, so they are both startled by it, they certainly aren't expecting anyone. Guess there's only one way to find out, Stella goes off to answer the door. The Living room and Kitchen is all open plan, so Ashley can immediately see when Stella re enters the room, she doesn't look happy. Ashley sighs preparing herself for whatever is about to happen.

Stella is followed into the room, by a tear stained Lindsay, carrying a sleeping Lucy in her arms. Stella has a hold all in her hands; it doesn't take a genius to work out what's happened here, especially in light of their recent conversation. Lindsay speaks, through tears.

"Can I stay here for a few days?"She looks down.

Stella responds immediately. "Of course you can sweetie, is everything okay?"

Obviously not, but they need to hear it from Lindsay. She looks back up at the two of them; Ashley has now left the kitchen area and is standing with them, looking exceptionally worried.

"Danny slept with Alex, he confessed." She can't stop the tears that fall. Stella and Ashley's hearts break for Lindsay. Ashley grabs the sleeping child from Lindsay's arms, and Stella grabs Lindsay and pulls her into a hug, she is really violently sobbing now, but through the sobs, she manages to announce. "I've left him."

Ashley looks at Stella, she feels sick, and she feels like this is all her fault, if she had been a better human being Alex would never have set out to do any of this. She can't dwell on self pity, Lindsay needs them now.

"I'm going to put this one to bed." Ashley gestures down towards the sleeping child now in her arms, and quickly makes her way to the spare room. On the way there her eyes fill with tears, it seems Alex will have her revenge after all.

Part 26

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