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 3

It's been a few weeks since Ashley was a suspect in a murder case; thankfully things have calmed down a lot since then. Well she hasn't been accused of anymore crimes anyway. Ashley and Adam are currently playing a little one on one, on a basketball court just around the corner from work. Adam is taking getting beaten by a girl to well. He's trying his best to put her off.

He decides mind games are his next trick. He's got the ball with Ashley facing him, with her back to the hoop; defence stance ready to pounce on what she feels is an inevitable mistake from Adam. "So how are things with you and Stella?" Adam has a glint in his eye as he broaches the subject. Ashley laughs inwardly, she thinks, does he really think that's gunna put me off?

"What 'things' are you referring to?" he tries to dribble past her, but she marks him tight, and they return to starting positions.

"Come on Princess, don't be like that." Mission accomplished, this winds Ashley up, she hates Adam's little pet name. She lunges at the ball; Adam dips past her and throws it in the hoop. Damn.

Delight for Adam. "Seriously though, how's your little conversion project coming on?" Ashley retrieves the balls, roles have now reversed and she's trying to score.

"You are joking? I know you think I've got a little crush on her, and I'm willing to admit she is hot. But I'm not insane enough to think she'd be remotely interested in me."

"Yeah right, I've seen the two of you together. You go into this weird Stella, Eden world, it's like there's no one else in the room."

"Dude seriously, there's nothing going on. Stella's y'know straight. This really isn't going to put me off my game."

"I'm not trying to wind you up, I'm serious, I think you'd have a shot."

Jackpot, an evil idea starts to form in Ashley's head, she can't help but smirk. . "You know, when I think about it, Stella hasn't had a boyfriend for a while." Adam smiles, he thinks he's got Ashley. She dribble's the ball a little.

"Come to think of it, the last guy she was with was probably you." This makes Adam take note, his posture changes and he stands upright.

"So? What are you saying?" Ashley has him right where she wants him.

"Well you know maybe I should be thanking you. Her experience with you was obviously so bad, its led to her being open minded about being with a woman." Adam's eyes glaze over a little. He stops dead. Ashley takes full advantage of the situation, and dribbles straight past him, and scores the winning points.

"She shoots, she scores." With that Ashley runs over to where there bags are, and grabs hers. "Come on Adam, we've gotta get to work."

The elevator pings open and Adam and Ashley are back at the lab. They head straight for the changing rooms. The five minute walk over has been a painful one for Ashley.

"You don't really think that's true do you?" Ashley is beginning to wish she hadn't said anything; it's all she's heard all the way back from the court.

"Of course I don't, look I was just teasing you to win at basketball, I'm sure you're very good in bed."

With that Ashley jumps into the women's changing room before Adam gets a chance to bombard her with anymore of his moaning.

The locker room is empty, which Ashley is pleased about; she takes a quick peek into the showers to make sure no one is in there either. They are empty too. Good. She starts to take off her t-shirt, and throws it onto the floor. It's at this point the locker room door swings open and someone walks in. Ashley freezes.

"Oh hey Eden." Stella enters the room. Ashley doesn't speak, she deduces Stella hasn't looked at her properly yet. She still doesn't speak, doesn't move, she only just realises that she's holding her breath. She just stands in her bra and shorts, not speaking, waiting for the reaction she knows is coming.

Stella is busy looking at a file when she enters the room, when Eden doesn't respond to her greeting, she pulls her gaze from the file over to where Eden is standing, and she is just stood not moving, with her back to her. Stella fully concentrates on Eden; she takes a large intake of breath as she sees what is obviously the reason why Ashley hasn't moved. There is a huge scar on Eden's back. Approximately 7 inches long, it goes from right to left on the lower part of her back. Before Stella can even comprehend what she's doing she's moved to Eden and her hands are on her back tracing the line of her scar. Ashley releases the breath she's been holding and turns around to face Stella. She has tears in her eyes, she looks into Stella's eyes, they are stunningly blue, and full of concern. Stella moves her eyes down to Eden's stomach, where she sees the second of Ashley's scars. This one is about 9 inches and straight down.

Stella moves her hand down and traces the outline of the scar on her stomach, mirroring what she did with the one on the back. Ashley just stands there still, not quite sure of what to do. She realises her eyes are closed. When she opens them she see's that Stella's eyes are filled with tears as well.

Stella can't believe what she is seeing, who would have done this to her. She must have barely survived, the scars are huge.

Ashley can't take it anymore; the atmosphere in the room is suffocating. Ashley reaches down and moves Stella's hand from her stomach. Stella needs to know what happened.

"Eden, what happened to you?"

Ashley blinks and a tear rolls down her cheek. She reaches up and wipes it away. "You remember I told you I had my reasons for not telling people I'm gay?" Ashley can't bring herself to look at Stella, so she just looks down at her scar. Stella understands immediately. Somebody did this to her because she was gay? No wonder she didn't want to tell anyone. Stella can't help the tears that start to fall from her eyes, and gasps. Ashley sees Stella begin to weep, and it destroys her, she can no longer hold back the emotion, and tears begin to fall more and more freely from her eyes now, she can't stop them from flowing.

Stella needs confirmation that what she thinks is true. "Somebody did this to you because of your sexuality?"

It was a question Ashley couldn't answer, she couldn't speak, she just had to get away. "I don't wanna talk about it." And with that she runs into the showers, and quickly turns the water on.

Stella just stands there dumbfounded. She can't believe it. Can't believe that anyone would ever want to hurt her. But she decided she wasn't going to push Eden, she would let her talk to her in her own time. With that thought she composes herself and leaves the changing room.

Ashley hears the changing room door slam shut from the shower. She puts her head under the hot water as the sobs begin the wreck her body. She knew it would come out eventually, but not like that. She wasn't ready for that, for Stella to see her like that.

She sighs at the thought, her feeling for Stella are beginning to grow beyond a crush. The way Stella is with her, the way she touches her, like it's the most natural thing in the world, giving her hope that maybe something could happen between them. False hope surely? The rational part of her brain is screaming that it's not possible. Ashley decides she needs to distance herself from Stella, but she needs to explain her scars properly first.

Ashley has managed to avoid Stella all day, she still feels kinda embarrassed about earlier. But she's made a deal with herself, If Stella is in her office when Ashley finishes her shift, then she will talk it out with her. She thinks to herself, that's probably why she's finished all of her paperwork today, and it's now fairly late. As she approaches Stella's office she realises she needn't have bothered. Her light is on. Ashley approaches the door, she see's Stella engrossed in some papers, she can't help but smile at the sight of her, glasses on, in full concentration. She has got it so bad. She knocks on the door and sticks her head round.

Stella looks up at to see Eden at her door, she smiles. She knows Eden has been avoiding her all day, so she's glad she is the one to approach her, but she doesn't want to push her. "Hey Eden, you okay?"

"Yeah. How long do you think you're going to be?" Ashley gestures towards her paperwork, secretly hoping it's too important for her to leave.

"I can finish right now, this isn't important, just some extra reading. Why what's up?" Wow Ashley is actually nervous, she feels a little sick.

"I was wondering if you maybe wanted to grab a drink, I thought we could talk y'know about earlier?" Ashley looks at her feet, struggling to make eye contact with her, and hoping that Stella doesn't think she is asking her out on a date.

Stella is delighted that Eden wants to talk and wastes no time in accepting her offer. "Sure, gimme a second to grab my coat and I'll be right out."

Ashley is relieved; she walks over to the elevator, and waits. It doesn't take Stella too long to join her.

"So where you taking me?" Stella says it with an almost flirtatious smile, she is actually excited, and hopeful that her and Eden can sort this out and move on. Ashley on the other hand realises she hasn't thought this through properly, she has no idea where they can go.

"Hey I'm the new girl, I don't know where's good round here. You choose. I will of course pay." They step onto the elevator and press the button for the ground floor whilst they're talking.

"Okay, well we can go to Maguire's; it's only a few minutes away." They step off the elevator and out of the building. It's a chilly night; Ashley pulls her coat closer around herself. Stella was right; the bar was only a few doors down. They haven't spoken since the elevator. But it has been a comfortable silence, as they stride into the bar; Ashley begins to feel a lot more nervous about the impending conversation.

"What do you want? To drink I mean?" Stella can tell Eden is nervous. She smiles to reassure her.

"Relax; we don't have to talk about anything you don't want to. I'll have a glass of white wine, and I'll go and grab us a table over there." She points over to one of the booths, and then starts to head towards it, whilst removing her coat. Ashley looks over to the barmaid, who is smirking back at her.

"You heard the lady, large glass of white, and I'll have a Rose cheers." She smiles. Once Ashley has the drinks, she heads over to Stella, who smiles as she approaches. Ashley passes her drink, and sits in the booth next to her.

Now they are here, Ashley doesn't know what to say. She decides general chit chat is the best way to start. "How was your day?"

"Uneventful." Well that went well, Ashley thinks to herself, as she takes a sip of her wine.

"Eden, I meant it when I said we don't have to talk about earlier." Stella is desperate not to scare her off again like earlier.

"No I want to. I told you ages ago I would tell you why I didn't come out to everyone. That's what I'm going to do. I know I hurt you by not telling you."

"You told me, you'd tell me when you're ready. If that's not now that's okay. I am happy you feel as though you can talk to me." Stella is very sincere, and Ashley appreciates this. Stella decides to be a little braver, now they are in a less formal environment.

"It's weird isn't it, this connection between us." Ashley is quite taken aback, she knew she thought there was a connection, but she didn't in a million years believe Stella felt it too, she was almost certain she'd created it as part of her crush. She's brought out of her thoughts when Stella continues to speak. "I feel like I've known you a lot longer than two months. Things are so comfortable between us. It's hard to explain."

Ashley cuts in, "I know exactly what you mean, I've never felt like this before, like you say it's . . . weird." Ashley worries she's gone too far, with the use of the word 'felt'. Stella however thinks it's a perfect description, she's certainly never felt this way before, and was still trying to come to terms with what exactly that meant.

Ashley moves back to the issue in hand. "I want to tell you, it's just hard."

"I know, take your time." Stella grabs her hand, and squeezes it to reassure her. Ashley decides the best way to handle this is to just power through, so here goes nothing.

"Okay, so you saw my scars earlier. Obviously I know you're a good enough CSI to realise they were stab wounds." Ashley looks up at Stella for confirmation; the smile is no longer on her face, her expression as turned to one of sadness. Stella just nods at Ashley. Prompting her to continue.

"Ten years ago, I was twenty years old, and just about to graduate the Academy in Boston. Me and my girlfriend at the time, Katy, where walking home one evening. It wasn't late, but it was winter so it was dark. Anyway, we were stopped by some old guy in the park. He asked us for directions, he was a priest so we figured we were pretty safe." She looks up at Stella for confirmation to continue, Stella's mind is racing with questions, but she keeps her expression the same, and silently urges Ashley to continue.

"I'm a little sketchy on what happened next, before I knew it I was on the floor, id been stabbed twice. I couldn't move. He had his hands all over Katy." Ashley takes a deep breath, and swallows the emotion that she feels; she's cried enough tears over that night. "He made her beg for her life. And it turned out he killed her anyway."

Stella is shocked by the story, she can't comprehend, that someone could do that to Eden, because of who she is, she can feel the rage rising in her, and it turns into frustrated tears, which are now falling freely from her eyes. She has an overwhelming, and quite ridiculous sense of guilt, that she didn't protect Eden. And has the overwhelming urge to protect her from this day on. It's at this point she knows the feelings have surpassed merely 'weird'. She has actual feelings for her, another woman, no not another woman, Eden. She knows there really isn't a distinction, but to her there is. Is she falling for her? All these thoughts are still swirling around her brain when Ashley continues.

"I don't really remember anything after that, I lost consciousness, and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital. Katy was dead. It wasn't until the trail he finally gave his reasons for doing it. He'd been following us for a while. Said it was God's instruction to kill us both for our sins. He was carrying out God's work to eradicate the earth of evil homosexuals like us."

Ashley smiles wryly and takes another deep breath as she looks over at Stella. Her face is a mess from all the tears that have spilled. "Oh Eden, I can't believe someone could do that to you." It was all Stella could manage to get out at the minute; her head was still spinning from her own earlier revelation.

"Yeah well. I've been kinda weird about telling people I'm gay since then. It's nothing to do with being ashamed. I'm very proud of who I am, I just worry about people's reactions, y'know?"

"Yeah well that's understandable" Stella wipes her eyes as she speaks. Ashley is glad she told Stella, she feels like a weight has been lifted. But again it's breaking her heart to see Stella in the state she's in at the moment. She feels like she should at least attempt to repair the mood.

"Come on, I didn't mean to upset you, I just wanted you to understand, why I didn't tell you straight away. Let's try and rescue the evening hey?"

Stella laughs a little, she feels like drinking now; it's been an emotional twenty minutes or so. Stella just nods her head.

Ashley smiles, "Are you hungry? We could get something to eat?"

And just like that, they moved on from it, and spent the whole night as if the first conversation had never happened. They had a great night, and learnt a lot more about each other. Ashley smiled to herself at the end of the night, it would have been the perfect first date. There she goes playing that dangerous game again; little did she know Stella was playing it too in her own head. Ashley decides it needs to stop, but Stella sure isn't making it easy for her, with the way she acts, making Ashley believe maybe there could be a chance for them. And that's her last thought before she closes her eyes to go to sleep.

Part 4

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