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 lets Stella's words wash over her. To be completely honest that was the last thing she was expecting her wife to say, in light of the recent bump in their marriage. She has really caught her by surprise. As her brain starts to process the information, she realises Stella is looking at her expectantly, waiting for an answer.
Stella just stares at Eden, she watches her wife go through a myriad of different emotions, each one playing out clearly on her face, if it wasn't such a serious situation, she would have probably laughed out loud at the number of different expressions.
Although it's been a while since she dropped her bombshell, and she still hasn't had a response from Eden, she's not panicking too much just yet, mainly because her wife's facial expression has just changed from one of utter confusion, to one of pure happiness. But it seems her brain hasn't generated enough power for her to actually formulate words yet.
It seems that may be about to change. Just as Eden looks as though she might speak, they are interrupted by Mac entering Stella's office. Oblivious to what he has just invaded, it appears his speech function is working perfectly.
"Eden, I need to speak to you for a second."
At this point he looks up, and suddenly realises he may well have just stepped into the middle of something, Eden is just sat open mouthed, and Stella looks almightily pissed off. He really hopes this has nothing to do with Detective Santiago, which in truth is what he wants to talk to Eden about anyway.
Eden just rises from the chair, thankful of the interruption, her eyes never leave Stella's even as she answers Mac's question.
"Yeah sure. I'll be right back."
That last part was aimed at Stella, and the fact that she nods her head, confirms that she has understood that. Ashley still somewhat in a daze, which is apparent to both Stella and Mac, just follows her father out of the room.
Once they are far enough down to corridor to be sure they are out of Stella's ear shot, Mac grabs Eden's arm and gently tugs her, still in the daze, she just looks down at her sleeve. Mac is really worried about her, he's truly starting to panic that Eden was the one who slept with Alex Santiago after all.
"Eden, is everything okay?"
Ashley just looks from her sleeve to Macs lips, almost as if her sight has been attracted to the noise. She needs air.
"Can we go to the roof, and talk?"
Who better to discuss this with than her Dad? Since Stella told her she wanted to try for a baby, she feels like she has tipped every part of the emotion scale, fear, happiness, pride, anxiety, excitement, surprise, that is quite a whirlwind of emotion to have flown through given that Stella actually only told her about ten minutes ago, but mainly at the moment she seems to have settled on panic.
They reach the roof, and Ashley takes a few moments to compose herself, she looks out over the city, and as usual it calms her. Mac on the other hand really is starting to panic, his daughters strange behaviour, thus far really has him concerned, she wouldn't be stupid enough to cheat on Stella, surely. It seems he's about to find out either way, Eden starts to speak.
"If I tell you something, will you promise not to tell anyone, not even Stella?"
This does nothing to quell his fear; his daughter just looks at him expectantly, so he nods.
"Stella wants us to try for a baby."
Mac can't help his reaction, he blames it on pure relief, he starts to laugh. Okay, not really what Ashley was expecting, she looks at him like he's just sprouted a second head. Mac better explain himself.
"I'm sorry Eden; I really thought you were going to tell me that you'd slept with Detective Santiago." He continues to chuckle.
Ashley is a little annoyed that her own father could think she would do something like that. "Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence Dad."
Now he feels bad. "I'm sorry, it's just it's been a little tense round here the last few days, and you've been acting so weird just now."
Then something hits him, his daughter had made him promise not to tell anyone, not even Stella, but surely if it was Stella's suggestion, she already knows, he confused, and can't help but voice his confusion.
"Eden, I thought you said I wasn't allowed to tell Stella."
She smirks at the puzzlement pasted on his face, his earlier misdemeanour regarding the cheating forgiven. Of course it wasn't just the potential baby she wanted to discuss, but also her overriding feeling since Stella's proposition. She takes a deep breath as she thinks about how she can explain it best.
"My mother was an awful mother." The penny drops a little for Mac, Ashley continues, she's looking down the whole time she's speaking. "I mean she didn't have a maternal bone in her body."
At this moment she chooses to look up into Mac's eyes, and he is blown away by the emotion in hers, she is on the verge of tears, she is really genuinely worried about this. "What if I'm just like her?"
The tears spill over, and Mac immediately embraces his child. He needs to make Eden see that she is one of the most wonderful people he has ever met, and that she will make an unbelievable mother, and that she and Stella are going to make brilliant parents.
"Eden, honey, you are nothing like Amelia. You would never treat anyone the way she treated you."
He can tell she doesn't believe him, he pulls her face up, so their eyes meet again.
"Listen to me, you will make an amazing mother, you don't have a bad bone in your body." He knows that Eden will respond to reasoning more than anything, such is her analytical mind, so he tries that route.
"And anyway, she made mistakes with you, but she seemed to put them right with Zane and Sienna, they loved her."
"I guess." It seems the reasoning is working, Ashley hadn't really thought about the ways her mother had righted her wrongs, she was just concentrating on the fifteen years of hell she'd put her through.
Mac continues. "And she came through in the end for you."
This makes Ashley smile; she really did come through in the end. She guesses she has just been over thinking it, and concentrating on the wrong things, she can't help it though, she's a worrier. Now she can look at the positives for sure, and one almost inadvertently falls from her lips.
"And you're a great dad." She smiles and looks up at Mac again.
He just beams with pride. "So what did you tell Stella?"
"I didn't, you interrupted us, before I had a chance to answer." The look of remorse on Mac's face makes Ashley burst into laughter.
"God, I'm sorry Eden, you shoulda told me you were busy."
It's at this point Ashley realises, that she still doesn't actually know what Mac wanted to speak to her about?
"So tell me father, what was so important that you needed to drag me away from an extremely important, life changing conversation with my wife?" Ashley is teasing him, and Mac knows it, but he still feels terrible.
"I just wanted to make sure the Santiago problem has been resolved, and make sure that you and Stella are okay, but I guess in light of the previous conversation, you guys are better than okay?"
"We're brilliant. I acted like an idiot, with Alex, and I continued to act like an idiot when she showed up in New York, but me and Stella have sorted it out, and I think Danny and Lindsay are gunna be fine too."
"Right well, if there's nothing else, I guess I better get back to my wife, I bet she's still sitting on the edge of her seat awaiting my response."
Mac shakes his head, which just makes Ashley laugh even more. She gets serious for a second though, and grabs Mac on the shoulder.
"Thanks Dad. You've really helped me see things a lot more clearly."
"That's what I'm here for."
Mac smiles, they embrace again, before Ashley hurriedly heads for the entrance to the building, she needs to speak to Stella.
Stella had just sat at her desk, in complete limbo. She had left herself open a little by telling Eden she wants a baby, she had disappeared with Mac around twenty minutes ago, and Stella had convinced herself in the meantime, that Eden was completely against the idea. I mean her lack of any actual response was surely evidence of that?
Stella will be devastated if Eden says no, she can't lie. She really wants to have a baby. She has tried to occupy her mind with paperwork since Eden was snatched away by Mac, but that hasn't helped, she has basically just been driving herself insane, by over thinking, every scenario. It seems she is finally about to be put out of her misery. Eden walks into her office, she certainly looks a lot happier than when she left, but more than that, she is exuding confidence.
Ashley looks down at her beautiful wife; she looks a little more stressed than when she left the office, understandable. Ashley can't remove the smile from her face, it's almost as if she's forgotten she's supposed to be speak, Stella decides to break the ice.
"What did Mac want?" Wow, she really doesn't sound happy, this confuses Ashley.
"He just wanted to make sure we were still together."
"What?" It really does take Stella by surprise.
"You know because of the whole Santiago thing." Weirdly it was like Stella had forgotten the whole episode already; it seems to her that so much has happened for them since that. She still is overly aware that Eden still hasn't brought up the baby subject. Ashley can feel the tension in the room, and between them, she decides Stella deserves a full explanation. She takes a seat opposite her, and starts to speak.
"When you said you wanted to have a baby." Stella freezes, her heart jumps to her mouth, it seems her answer is about to be provided. Ashley continues.
"I was just so scared." That was the last emotion Stella was expecting from her wife, she is hanging on her every word now. Ashley looks up at Stella.
"I told you before we were married; I would give you everything you wanted. That included marriage and kids. Nothing has changed for me; I would love nothing more than for us to be parents."
A solitary tear escapes Stella's eye, she senses Eden hasn't finished yet. "I am so sorry for how I reacted, you just really caught me by surprise, when you put it out there, it became more real somehow. I panicked, I wasn't sure I'd make a very good mother. I haven't exactly had a great example."
Stella laughs. "What a pair we make, my mother figure wasn't exactly notable either."
Of course, Ashley hadn't even taken a second to think about Stella, she was an orphan, how could she have been so stupid. She doesn't really know what to say, she wonders if Stella had the same doubts as she had.
"You will make a wonderful mother." Ashley needed to get that out there just in case.
"So will you." Stella states it simply. Ashley gets excited butterflies in her stomach.
"So we're doing this?"
Stella, who has also just had an attack of the butterflies, moves around her desk to join her wife on the other side.
"We're doing this." Neither of them can stop the huge grins that appear on their faces. They just fall into each other, and start to kiss like teenagers, happy, excited teenagers.
True to form, Ashley is eager to get an idea at least of what they are going to do. She likes to be organised. Stella laughs; it takes her back to when they were arranging their wedding.
They have just arrived home with pizza and beer, all laid out on the centre island in their kitchen, Stella smirks, she feels as though they are at the lay out table back at the lab, almost as if they are about to undertake an investigation. She loves that Eden puts the same level of commitment and thoroughness into the big things in their personal life, as she does into her cases at work.
It seems she is ready to start, Stella takes a swig of her beer, and prepares herself to organise the next big step in her life, the smirk still firmly on her face, god she loves this woman so much.
"So" Ashley looks up at Stella, and immediately smiles at the Cheshire cat like grin on her face, she always teases her for being so anal when it comes to organisation, she knows exactly what her wife is thinking, but she decides to forgive her, because behind that grin is pure love radiating, she knows that Stella loves this side to her. She just smirks back.
"How are we gunna do it?" Ashley exhales, obviously the two of them being women, makes the process a bit more complicated, and there are numerous options. This is of course something Stella knows too. Which is probably why she sighs as loudly as her wife, and takes another swig of beer.
"So, I guess our options are pregnancy, or adoption." Stella thinks over her wife's words, both are certainly appealing options, she would love nothing more than to be pregnant, carry a baby, and give birth. But being an orphan herself, she knows too well the benefit of adoption.
"I want us to have our own child." Stella surprises herself when the words tumble from her lips. She looks up sheepishly at Eden. "Does that make me selfish?"
"Absolutely not. I want us to have our own child too." Ashley smiles and then continues. "Well now that's decided, who's going to have the baby?"
Ashley knows the answer to her question before she asks it, she knows Stella is dying to carry their child, and to be honest, the thought of Stella pregnant, drives her wild. But she waits patiently for the answer.
"Well, I'm a little older I guess. Would you mind if I had the first one?"
Well it seems Stella has plans for a brood, one step at a time. "I would like nothing more. I can't wait to see you pregnant."
Stella can't believe how happy she is right now, she drifts off into her own little world, thinking about babies, and pregnancy, and how amazing she knew Eden would be throughout. Ashley on the other is still organising away in her head, she starts to think out loud.
"You know my family is well connected in New York." That was an understatement, Stella thinks back to Audrey securing them their reception venue on such short notice.
"We are tight with the Rivera family; they have a daughter around my age, Ava. We've met up a few times since I've been in New York, she's a doctor, and luck would have it, a fertility expert. I bet I could get us an appointment."
It seems she's going to try immediately, she jumps off the stool and heads out somewhere into the apartment. There are those butterflies again in Stella's stomach; this is all getting very real. She's excited, the kind of excited that rises in your chest, and settles in your throat, you can feel it every time you swallow, and every time you think of the thing that's gotten you so excited, it's almost too much, and you feel like you'll explode. It's a feeling Stella has become accustomed to since she's known Eden, and it's a feeling she hopes never fades.
Ashley returns, smiling. "Got us an appointment tomorrow."
"Wow you really are well connected."
"Yeah, well it will just be a chat at first, she'll talk us through our options, and then we can go as fast or as slow as you like from there."
"Thank you." Stella doesn't just mean for getting the appointment, she means for everything.
Ashley is in such a good mood she can't help but be playful. "You're welcome." She steals a kiss from her wife. "Enjoy that beer while you can. For that matter, we'll probably have to cut out pizza too. I don't want you getting fat."
Stella playfully slaps her on the arm, to which Ashley's response is to stick her tongue out at her, she grabs a slice of pizza, and the two women settle back down into their evening, laughing and joking throughout. Blissful.
The next day, Stella and Ashley are both rather nervously sitting in Doctor Rivera's office. Waiting for her to arrive. It's not long before Ava enters the room, Stella watches intently as she greets her wife warmly. "Eden Alexa. Good to see you again."
"Ava Marie." She states playfully. "You look great."
Ava smiles, then realises they are being quite rude, she looks over at Stella, who thus far has just been smiling at the interaction between the two friends in front of her.
"You must be the wonderful Stella?" Ava holds her hand out and Stella readily accepts it, and shakes it excitedly as she responds.
"Well I'm not sure about the wonderful part, but I am definitely Stella." Ava smiles, she can see why her friend has fallen for this woman, she makes her way round her desk and takes a seat as she speaks.
"Nonsense, Eden here has done nothing but talk about you since she arrived in New York, and it's all been very wonderful." Ava grins sideways at her friend, Ashley looks rather sheepish. Stella just grins at her wife, and wiggles her eyebrows.
They are brought from their playful mood by Ava's next words. "So you want to have a baby?" She looks at both of them expectantly. Ashley breaks the silence.
"Yes." Neither she nor Stella can help the smile that erupts on both of their faces. Ava chuckles, but she wants to get right down to business, she very much reminds Stella of Eden in this respect.
"Right, so tell me what you've decided so far."
"Well, we know we want to have our own baby, and that Stella is going to carry it." It's at this point that Ashley realises that they haven't really put as much thought into this as perhaps they could have. "That's it really."
Ava puts Ashley at ease almost instantly. "That's more than enough. Let me take you, through your options."
Ashley smiles, and grabs Stella's hand, as they prepare to be given the information they need, to make one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision of their adult life.
"Okay well you have a few options, first and most simple is IUI, inter uterine insemination, which is your basic turkey baster job." Ashley can't help but laugh at her friend's turn of phrase. Ava continues.
"There are two options with this; you can either have an anonymous sperm donor, or someone you know. And as long as there are no problems with the host, fertility wise, this is the simplest and cheapest option."
Stella and Eden both listening intently, both with a million thoughts whirring around their brains, both nod to let Ava know they have understood, she nods back and powers on again.
"Now, what I've found a lot of lesbian couples prefer to do is partner IVF. It's a little more completed, but what it basically means, is that, we would take an egg, from Eden, which would then be fertilised, again, you can have an anonymous or known donor, we would then implant that egg into Stella, who would obviously carry the baby and give birth. What this option means, is that both of you would have a connection to the child. Eden you would be the biological mother, and Stella you would be the birth mother, and then you could do it vice versa for the next pregnancy."
Stella immediately knows this is what she wants, she would love nothing more that for them to have a child together, and this is the closet they are going to get to that.
"That sounds perfect." Stella wasn't aware she had said the words out loud, until she has two sets of eyes on her, she turns to Eden.
"What do you think?"
"I think it sounds perfect too." She can't help but lean across and place a gentle kiss on Stella's lips, Ava smiles, she has never seen her childhood friend as happy as this, and she includes when she was with Katy, there's something she never thought was possible.
After the initial joy, of seemingly finding the perfect way to conceive, Stella's mind immediately turns to what may be the deal breaker; Ashley can tell something is wrong, from the way Stella's expression changes.
"You said the first way would be the cheaper option, exactly how much is this IVF going to set us back?"
Ashley instantly perks up. "Stella, money isn't an issue."
Stella is adamant though. "No Eden, this is something I want us to do together, whatever the cost I want us to split it 50/50."
Just as Ashley was about to launch into an impassioned plea that their, marriage meant that they now shared everything, including her wealth, Ava speaks before she can.
"Stella, Eden's right, money isn't an issue, because it's all on the house."
Ashley is taken aback, Ava can tell she is about to protest. "Before you start, without the help of your family, my family would be nowhere; this is the least we can do."
Ashley knows better than to argue with Ava, she's wearing a look on her face that states, she means business and she won't be budging.
"So all you need to decide then is where you want your sperm to come from."
"That's gross." Ashley can't help but voice her disgust; she is being playful of course. Ava just smiles.
"Right well I need you both back in to run some fertility tests, say at the end of this week?" They both nod in agreement.
"Then we can set a schedule and get you pregnant." She is of course looking at Stella, as she speaks, and Stella can't help the excitement she feels at her words.
"Thank you so much." Stella practically gushes.
"You're more than welcome, right I have to go, but feel free to chat in my office for a while, and make your next appointment with my secretary on your way out."
She moves round to the front of her desk, and her newest clients rise to their feet to say their goodbyes. In the form of a kiss on the cheek from both.
"Right I'll see you both at the end of the week."
With that Ava leaves the office, and Ashley turns round to greet her wife, she exhales, almost because she's full to the brim with excitement and needed to let a little of it out, Stella without words, just grabs her wife and pulls her into a hug.
The wheels are well and truly in motion now.
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