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 placed the still sleeping Lucy into the spare room bed, and stayed with her until she was sure she was settled. A million thoughts racing through her mind, the predominant one is guilt. She joins Stella and Lindsay in the living area, it seems Stella has made tea, Lindsay still looks devastated, Ashley can barely look her in the eyes, she just moves quickly to the coffee table and grabs her car keys. This takes both of the other women by surprise. Stella voices hers.
"Are you going somewhere?" Stella can tell there is something very wrong with her wife.
Ashley, who still can't bring herself to look over at Lindsay, quickly looks up at Stella and takes in the concern etched on her face. Then looks back down at the floor.
"I'm gunna go see Danny; let him know that you and Lucy are okay." She chances a look up at Lindsay, who appreciates Eden's concern, as much as she hates Danny for what he's done, she still loves him, and she knows he will be going out of his mind with worry. She just nods at Ashley, who sheepishly exits the apartment after one final glance over at Stella, and a wry smile.
Stella watches her wife leave, worried. She knows Eden is blaming herself for this mess. Stella knows it isn't her fault, it's not like she forced Danny to sleep with Santiago, and she hopes Lindsay realises that too. But for now there are more pressing issues at hand that the two ladies need to discuss.
"What are you going to do?" Stella looks directly at Lindsay; she can tell she's seriously contemplating the question. She answers honestly and tears start to prick her eyes again as the words fall from her mouth.
"I don't know."
"Do you think you can ever forgive him?"
Again Lindsay lets the words wash over her, the truth is the way she feels right now, the answer is no, but when the anger subsides she really doesn't know.
"I don't know. It's not the first time this has happened."
This takes Stella by the surprise she wasn't aware Danny had cheated before. The shock must be apparent as Lindsay feels the need to explain herself.
"It was before we were married. Before we were really together. Before he knew I was pregnant."
Lindsay again lost her thoughts can't help but voice them. "I never thought he'd do it after we were married."
She shakes the sorrow out of head, talking is really helping and she's so grateful to Stella for being there to listen.
"Could you ever forgive Eden, if she cheated I mean?"
The thought makes Stella feel sick. She exhales as she contemplates her answer. "I don't know. I like to think that she never would. But if she did."
Stella again exhales while she thinks of how to word her next sentence. "She wouldn't be the same person I fell in love with. But I can't imagine my life without her. I really don't know."
Stella laughs as she says it, and Lindsay can't help but join in. "That wasn't really an answer was it?"
"It's difficult, because I can't imagine my life without Danny either."
They both sink back into the couch on which they're seating, deep in thought, Lindsay about the mess her life has descended into, and Stella about what a dilemma Lindsay was in, and how she hopes she's never in the same situation.
Ashley pulls up outside Danny and Lindsay's apartment block, and slowly makes her way upstairs, it's around ten thirty now, but she needs to speak to Danny, she needs to do everything in her power to make this all okay. She reaches the front door, and knocks wearily. Danny opens the door mere seconds later, face full of hope obviously hoping its Lindsay, he can't hide his disappointment when he see's Ashley standing there.
"Hey Ash, what are you doing here?"
"Can I come in?"
"Sure." Danny moves to the side and lets Ashley through, she takes a seat on the couch, and Danny dejectedly lets himself drop into the chair opposite, he grabs his glass, Ashley guesses from the colour its scotch he's drinking. Danny notices her eying his drink.
"Do you want one?" He lifts his glass to gesture he means a drink.
"No thanks, I'm driving." She smiles, she certainly isn't going to berate him for trying to find the answers to his problems in the bottom of a bottle, she knows she's looked there herself a fair few times.
She decides to deliver the main portion of the news she came here to give. "Lindsay and Lucy are at my place. I just wanted you to know they're safe."
"I figured as much. I appreciate you coming here to tell me." He takes a large swig of his drink, and closes his eyes tight as it burns down his throat and into his stomach. When he reopens them he see's Ashley deep in thought, obviously that wasn't all she came to tell him, but she is struggling to put the words together.
She sighs, it seems Danny is about to find out what else she has to say.
"I know Alex. Probably better than anyone else in the world." Danny really isn't sure where this is going, Ashley continues.
"She's a game player Danny. Apart from my obvious intimacy issues back them, that was another big reason we would never have worked out, she loves playing games."
Danny is confused. "I don't really know where you're going with this Ash?"
"I need you to tell me, exactly what you remember from last night."
Danny furrows his brow, he's still highly confused. "What's to tell? I woke up in her hotel room, in her bed, naked, with her, also naked."
This gives Ashley a glimmer of hope. "So you don't actually remember having sex with her?"
"Well no, but we woke up together."
"Look Danny, all I'm saying is I wouldn't put it past her to make you think that you had sex, but in reality it didn't really happen."
"Seriously. You think she's that crazy." Danny can't believe anyone would do that.
"Danny I was with her for seven years, I pissed her off big style in those seven years. I mean I dread to think how many other women there were."
Danny isn't impressed, which is good cos Ashley really isn't trying to impress him. She continues. "And that was just the tip of the iceberg. I've been on the end of her crazy many a time. Believe me she is more than capable of something like this."
"Really?" Now Danny was starting to get his hopes up.
"Really. All the things I've done to hurt her in the past, and I swear I have never seen her as mad as she was yesterday. I wouldn't put it past her." Ashley can't help but stroke her own cheek, as she thinks back to Alex's anger, it was still sore, it was still red.
"I dunno Ashley, its pretty 'fatal attraction'"
Ashley can't help but laugh at his movie reference, Danny joins in, the first time he's smiled today.
"What can I say I'm quite the catch." This makes Danny really laugh, he appreciates Ashley being a friend for him, he knows she could have easily stayed with Lindsay and Stella, and just called to let him know they were okay. He's touched that she's made the effort to actually make sure he's okay, not only that, but she's actually offered him some hope that he can save his marriage.
"I'm going to call her."
Danny instantly knows she means Alex.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"Well things can't get any worse." She states this as she pulls out her cell phone and looks up Alex's number, Danny just nods his head, she's right after all, things really couldn't get any worse right now. She puts the phone on speaker and places it on the coffee table, they both lean forward, and listen to the rings, it's not long before the line kicks in and they both hear a voice they are very familiar with.
"Missing me already Eden?"
Ashley ignores her and presses on. "You made it home alright then?"
"Yes, but I doubt your calling to make sure I had a safe journey."
She got that right. Ashley just plods on with what she wants to say. "Look I know you want to hurt me, and that's fine, I deserve it. But Danny and Lindsay they're a family, they have a kid."
Alex exhales on the other end of the line. "Well you can blame your friend Adam for that, he was adamant I wasn't getting anywhere near your hotel room, so much so that he stayed in there himself."
"What are you talking about?" Ashley really is confused, Danny just listens intently.
"Well the plan was to wake up with you. When I realised that wasn't going to happen, I bumped into Danny outside the hotel trying to hail a cab. Looking decidedly worse for wear, I managed to convince him to get a room with me."
"So you took him back to the room and had sex with him?"
They are both taken aback by the laugh at the other end of the line. "Don't be ridiculous, he could barely stand up let alone have sex."
Danny feels rage building inside him, Ashley just looks up at him knowingly. Alex continues.
"I just waited for him to pass out and removed his clothes. You should have seen him the next day, he was so ashamed."
Ashley can't actually believe what she's hearing, she knew Alex had the capacity to play games, but she never believed she could be this cruel. She can't help but voice her opinion.
"Wow. I messed you up real bad."
The playfulness that had been apparent in her voice previous has disappears. "Yeah, you just remember that next time you decide to play with someone's feelings again."
"I'm sorry." Not the first time Ashley has uttered those words in the last few days, and as on the previous occasions, she truly means it.
"Yeah, well whatever. If that's all I've gotta go. Seeya Eden. Seeya Danny."
Danny is slightly stunned that she knew he was listening in, but she hangs up before anyone has a chance to question it. Danny just feels pure rage, Ashley can tell he's about to lose it.
"Right you stay here and calm yourself down." Ashley is busy formulating a plan. "I'm gunna head back to mine and talk to Lindsay."
"Don't you think I should be the one to talk to her?" Danny is getting annoyed.
"Firstly, she won't let you anywhere near her right now. Secondly you look like you're about to go off like a rocket. I don't think you're in the right frame of mind."
Ashley knows they need to approach this carefully if there's any chance Lindsay will take him back.
"Stop drinking try and get some sleep, and hopefully by the time you both get to work tomorrow, she'll actually want to speak to you."
Danny knows she's right. He nods his head to confirm. Ashley rises from her seat, kisses him on the cheek and heads for the exit. Just before she is about to leave through the front door, Danny's voice stops her in her tracks.
"Ashley." She turns to face him. "Thanks."
She smiles. "It's the least I can do; all of this is my fault after all."
Danny looks confused, he lays the blame fully with himself and Alex, he doesn't get this weird guilt complex Ashley has, but she leaves before he has a chance to say anything.
It's pretty late by the time Ashley gets back to her own apartment, she's praying that Stella and Lindsay are still up, she makes her way to the living area and realises she needn't have worried, they are still up, a lamp illuminating them, it seems Stella is doing a good job of taking her mind off of it, as they are both smiling, although it seems a bottle of white zinfandel may have helped as well. Ashley spies the half empty bottle on the coffee table.
They both seem to realise Eden has returned at the same time, Stella greets her with a loving smile, and Lindsay with a look of apprehension. It looks like Stella will speak first.
"Hey Shorty." Ashley just smiles at her wife.
"How is he?" Ashley is surprised when this question comes from Lindsay.
She decides it's far too late to beat around the bush. "He didn't cheat on you."
This takes Lindsay and Stella by surprise. "Eden he confessed." Lindsay can't help but voice her confusion.
"No he confessed to what he thought he'd done. He was too drunk to remember what actually happened."
"And what makes you think you know exactly what happened." Lindsay appreciates that Eden and Danny are friends, but there's no way she can be sure exactly what happened. Stella just watches the interaction with great interest.
"I don't know exactly what happened. The only person that does is Alex. And she told me, that they didn't have sex."
Now Lindsay doesn't know what to feel, should she feel relieved, happy? She decides instead to question what Eden is saying.
"Look Eden, I know you and Danny are good friends, but I like to think that we are friends too, that you have an ounce of respect for me." Lindsay is getting angrier as she speaks.
"For you to stand here and lie to me for Danny."
Lindsay pauses as she looks for the best words to say to continue her rant against Eden. Before she has a chance, Ashley holds up her hand, signalling that she wants both women to listen to her, she retrieves her phone, pushes a few buttons.
"Look I called her, and recorded the conversation on my phone, listen to it. Then decide. I'm going to bed, because I'm exhausted. But Lindsay, I'm telling you the biggest problem your marriage has, is that Danny thought he was capable of cheating."
Ashley places the phone on the coffee table, both women just watch her do it, then watch again as she walks off towards her and Stella's bedroom. The two women remaining on the couch, just look at each other open mouthed, then look at the phone.
Ashley had already been up about an hour before Stella sleepily joins her in the kitchen she loiters leaning against a wall taking in the scene before her. Her wife is currently sitting at the island with Lucy perched on her knee, there are two bowls of cereal, and they are both happily eating away, they look so cute, Lucy is like a mini Eden, they are both in exactly the same position, just Lucy has a smaller spoon and bowl, they are even both reading, Eden has the daily newspaper folded over to their left, and Lucy has her children's book to their right, Stella has to stifle a laugh when they both bring a spoonful of cereal to their mouth at exactly the same time.
"Aunty Eden." Lucy speaks. Ashley pulls her attention from the newspaper and looks down at the small child, Stella all the time secretly watching the two of them.
"Yes Princess?" Although it's a pet name Ashley hates for herself, she knows it's one that Lucy loves, which is confirmed by the huge grin that appears on her face. She presses on with her question.
"Why did me and Mommy stay here last night?"
Ashley is a little scared of the question, Stella is too truth be told, the smile that had been playing on her lips moments earlier turns into a frown. Ashley really doesn't know how to answer.
"Well." She knows Lucy will be expecting some sort of answer. "Mommy and Daddy had a small disagreement, and rather than make it worse by arguing, Mommy decided it would be better for the two of you to stay here for a few days."
Ashley can see Lucy digest the information; she didn't want to lie to her. "That makes sense, arguing is horrible."
Lucy seems satisfied with what Ashley has said; Ashley is relieved and hopes that's the last awkward question the child asks. Although worryingly it seems she is going to ask something else, Ashley braces herself.
"Do you really think I'm a princess?"
The relief on Ashley's face must be obvious, because Stella can't help but laugh out loud. This gets the attention of the two seated female's both their heads whip round to see Stella giggling like a school girl. She swallows the laughs. Lucy is obviously excited to see Stella, she practically squeals.
Stella is immediately over to them. "Hello Lucy Loo." She kisses Lucy on the head, before reaching over Lucy's head and giving her wife a big kiss. They both laugh when they hear Lucy's next word.
Stella moves around to the other side of the Island, and starts making herself some breakfast; Lucy goes back to happily eating her cereal, and reading her book. Stella loves this; this is what every morning could be like if she and Eden ever have a family, and watching Eden with Lucy, she really suits motherhood.
Ashley looks over at Stella and finds she is looking over at her with adoration, she loves Stella looking at her like this, so full of love, she hope she always looks at her like this. But she needs to find out what happened after she went to bed last night.
"Did you listen to the phone last night?"
Stella seems to remember all of a sudden that her best friend is in the midst of a marriage crisis, the smile drops from her face.
"And?" the look on Stella's face isn't filling Ashley with confidence.
"I honestly don't know."
At that moment they are joined by Lindsay, looking more than a little hung over, she immediately gives Lucy a kiss, and her heart melts when her daughter speaks.
"Good morning Mommy."
"Good morning sweetie."
Lindsay seems to panic all of a sudden, and quickly looks at her watch.
"I'm going to be late getting her to school." She curses under her breath, she isn't even dressed yet and Lucy has to be there in half an hour.
"I'll take her." Ashley is the only one of the adults fully dressed after all.
Lucy squeals with delight again, making all the adults laugh once more.
"Right then get your coat and bag, and give mummy and Aunty Stella a kiss."
Lucy obediently does as she's told, and then the two of them go to leave.
"See you guys at work." Ashley exits the apartment. Again Stella can't help but be excited by the scene in front of her. But again the smile drops as she catches sight of Lindsay, she looks awful, she guesses she didn't get any sleep last night.
"So what are you gunna do about Danny?" Stella gets straight to the point.
"I don't know. I feel a hell of a lot better knowing he didn't actually cheat. But like Eden said, he thought he was capable of it, and that's a worry. I don't know if I can trust him."
"He put himself in an awful position, he made a silly mistake. One I'm sure he won't make again."
Lindsay takes in Stella's words; she values Stella's opinion above most. "I know you're right."
Lindsay exhales deeply, she knows her husband has made a huge error in judgement, and she thankful that's all. She loves him, and she knows more than anything she wants to make it work.
Ashley had dropped Lucy off at school and gone straight to work, she was immediately accosted by Danny in the main lab.
"So what did she say?" Danny is eager to know how it went.
"Come on Ashley you're killing me here."
"Sorry Danny, I know she's listened to the phone conversation I had with Alex, but I don't know her reaction to it." Ashley feels for him she really does, she wishes she had more for him, she can see he's in agony.
"Look Stella might know more, I dropped Lucy at school this morning so she and Lindsay probably chatted then." Danny still looks dejected.
They are both startled when the door to the main lab opens. It seems Danny might be about to get the answers he's after. Stella and Lindsay stroll into the lab, Lindsay instantly makes eye contact with Danny, she sees the pain there, pain that is no doubt mirrored in her own eyes. Without ever breaking eye contact, she speaks.
"Will you guys give us a minute?"
Stella and Ashley immediately exit the lab, no words needed. The tension in the room hits maximum, Danny wants to speak but he doesn't want to make things any worse. When Lindsay doesn't speak, he feels like he has to.
"I want you to come home." Lindsay is stunned by the emotion in his voice, and the tears forming in his eyes.
She was so determined to be strong, but the truth is she loves this man with all of her heart, and her heart breaks to see him like this, she immediately crosses the room, and falls into Danny's arms he hugs her, like he's never going to let her go, tears falling from his eyes, matched by those falling from Lindsay's. She pulls back and looks up at him; she is still angry and makes sure Danny knows this.
"Don't you ever put yourself in that position again Danny Messer." She combines her words with a sly smack on the arm for Danny.
He knows that they will get through this, so he smiles in spite of the smack he's just received.
"I won't I promise. I'm never drinking again." He smiles again through his tears, and Lindsay can't help but join him, she snuggles back into the hug.
Stella and Ashley had immediately retreated to Stella's office. Stella was sitting behind the desk and Ashley was sprawled out on the couch in there.
"That was pretty intense huh?"
Stella just nods in agreement. She's had something on her mind since this morning and doesn't really know how to bring it up with Eden. Ashley apparently hasn't noticed that her wife is pre occupied.
"Do you think they'll be okay?"
Stella is momentarily pulled away from her thoughts. "I really hope so."
Now Ashley picks up on Stella acting weird, it was almost as if Stella drifted out of her own little world just then to answer her question, and then drifted right back in.
"Is everything okay with you?" Ashley is worrying a little.
Stella knows she is going to have to bring up what she's thinking sooner rather than later, and there really is no time like the present. Ashley watches her wife with interest she can practically see the cogs turning in her brain.
"We're doing alright aren't we?"
That's a fairly weird question, one that Ashley wasn't really expecting, she just nods her head wondering where Stella is going with this. She continues.
"I mean we've almost made a year of marriage and I'm still as happy as I was on our wedding day."
"Stella, we're fantastic, where is this going?" Ashley really is perplexed.
Stella goes back to the scene in the kitchen this morning, it really was the most perfect thing, and she wants that. She decides to bite the bullet.
"I want us to try for a baby." Stella holds her breath as she waits for a reaction from Eden.
Ashley doesn't really know how to react; she sits up on the couch open mouthed, staring at Stella with a look of immense shock on her face. Stella is worried. Truth be told so is Ashley, her next words will shape her future forever, whatever they may be . . .
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