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
Stella Bonasera is now 4 months pregnant. She and her beautiful wife Eden had been to the latest scan earlier in the week, and both babies are doing fine, progressing as normal. Ava wasn't able to confirm the sex of the babies, but she's assured them that she will almost certainly be able to tell them the gender of their children at the next scan in four weeks time.
Right now though, Stella is currently a slave to her cravings, she's been having a fair few strange ones, including chalk, and lemon juice. But at the moment her craving is for pistachio ice cream and fresh cut mango. Problem is it's currently two thirty in the morning. She has slipped out of bed and headed for the freezer, hoping that they have the first part of her craving in stock. Out of luck, she physically deflates when the freezer proves lacking; such is the strength of her craving.
She trudges back into the bedroom dejectedly, although her disappointment turns to remorse when she sees the sleepy figure of her wife sitting up in bed, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
"Sorry Shorty, did I wake you?"
Stella did wake Ashley as she was shuffling out from underneath the covers. But Ashley doesn't have the heart to scold her wife.
"Don't worry about it. Why are you awake?"
Stella looks a little guiltily, Ashley immediately knows why she's up at this ungodly hour. "More cravings?"
Stella just nods her head.
"I take it we don't have whatever it is you're after?"
"No." Stella knows where this is going. "But its okay I can wait until morning."
Ashley tiredly swings her legs out of bed and grabs some clothes out of the wardrobe, comfy clothes, grey sweat pants, an NYPD training t-shirt and a red Harvard hoody from her days back in Boston when she was training to be a CSI. Stella watches her wife without saying anything. Ashley speaks.
"You can't wait until morning, you know you'll fidget all night, and keep me awake as well as a result. I may as well just run down to Antonio's and grab whatever it is you're craving. Then we'll both get a good night's sleep."
Antonio's is a 24 hour store which Ashley has had to venture to quite a few times over the last month or so, so much so that she and the owner Antonio Dominguez have become good friends. Stella smiles at her wife, Ashley smiles back, she knows Stella feels guilty, but the truth is, Ashley is more than happy to go late night shopping, it's the least she can do, Stella is carrying her children after all.
"So, what are we craving this evening Mrs Bonasera?"
"Pistachio ice cream. . ."
"And fresh cut Mango?" Eden finishes her sentence for her; she loves how well she knows her inside out. Stella nods to confirm.
Ashley leans down and kisses her. "Right, I'll be as quick as I can."
Truth is she'll be at least 40 minutes, Antonio's isn't exactly close, but he's almost always guaranteed to have whatever it is Stella is craving, a lot of the other 24 hour places wouldn't. Ashley grabs her car keys on her way out whilst slipping on some sneakers, out of habit she grabs her badge and service weapon, before tiredly heading out of the front door.
Around twenty minutes later Ashley strolls into Antonio's, the patron and name sake of the store is sitting at the counter reading a paper, he looks up as soon as he hears the bell go on the door, and he smiles and shakes his head.
"Eden Bonasera, how many times do I need to tell you to stock pile." He chuckles; Ashley can't help but join in.
"What can I tell you Antonio, she eats the stuff I buy, she eats the stuff I buy as spare, and she finds the stuff I stash away."
"She's worth it though huh?"
"Definitely, and I guess at least I'm getting used to the sleepless nights."
The elder gentlemen of Hispanic descent chuckles again. "That you are my girl. So what will it be tonight?"
"Pistachio ice cream. And a mango if you've got one?" She poses it as a question and holds her breath while she waits for an answer, truth is if he hasn't got one, she will have to go trawling round all the other 24 hour convenience stores in the area, and it's pushing 3am already.
"I think I can help you out." He winks at her, and she just exhales with pure relief. Antonio starts rummaging around getting the things Ashley needs, when she notices something out of the corner of her eye.
"Papa." Antonio's five year old daughter Isabel, in her night gown clutching her favourite teddy.
Ashley has been to the store at more social hours, and has met Isabel or Bella as she likes to be called a couple of times before.
"Bella why aren't you in bed?" Ashley decides to talk to the young girl, as her father seems to be searching for the ice cream, he smiles and shakes his head at his little girl. Bella moves towards Ashley, who picks her up and places her on the counter in front of her.
"I had a nightmare."
"A nightmare? What about?"
"Come on now sweetie, you know monsters aren't real?"
Bella nods her head to show she agrees with Ashley, the five year old obviously decides a change of subject is in order.
"What are you doing here Ashley? Is your baby hungry again?" This is how Antonio and Ashley had explained Stella's cravings to the child, she smiles at her innocence.
"Those babies sure do get hungry at the worst times."
"You got that right." Ashley tiredly agrees.
Before they can continue their conversation, all hell breaks loose, pandemonium. Three masked men storm into the store. It takes two seconds for Ashley to draw her weapon, it that miniscule amount of time, one of the men has grabbed Bella, and has a gun to her head, one is trashing the place and the other has a gun shoved in Antonio's face, whilst wafting a bag.
"Put the money in the bag." Antonio is paralysed with fear, he can't take his eyes away from his little girl, she looks terrified and is crying her heart out.
"NYPD, drop your weapon." Ashley knows her words are futile, so does Bella's captor, he just shoves the gun more forcefully against Bella's temple.
"I think you should drop your weapon." Ashley can hear the smugness in his voice, neither of them lowers their pistol.
Antonio has emptied the cash register into the bag, not that there is much money in there at this time of night, what are these idiots thinking. The guy with the bag is not impressed but he looks over at the situation with the kid, and has a bright idea, he moves towards them and starts to whisper to his partner in crime.
Ashley still with her gun raised looks over at Antonio; he is not in a good place.
"Look you've got what you want, so just release the girl, and get on your way." Ashley is calm and confident.
"Let's get out of here guys." The one Ashley has pinned as the leader speaks, and his two minions follow his order, the three of them head for the exit, alarmingly they don't release Bella.
"Come on guys, what's the point in taking the kid. You like babysitting do you?" Ashley hopes that this will persuade them to leave her behind. They stop and seem to contemplate her words before exiting the store at the same speed they entered, Bella in tow.
Ashley immediately springs into action; she places her gun back in its holster as she shouts instructions at Antonio.
"Call 911, tell them what's happened, and tell them Detective Eden Bonasera is in pursuit of the suspects."
Antonio is still in complete shock, but he manages to nod at Ashley whilst reaching for the phone. Ashley runs out of the store as fast as her legs will carry her, just in time to see the assailant's vehicle speeding out of the car park, she jumps in her SUV and sets off after them. She is not coming back to Antonio's without Bella in attendance.
Stella had fallen asleep, she tried her best not too, Eden gets really mad at her when she sends her on a midnight food run and then falls asleep before she gets back. She opens her eyes slowly and prepares herself to come face to face with a pissed off looking wife, but she's surprised to find she's in bed alone. Maybe she hadn't fallen asleep for as long as she suspected? A glance at her clock puts this idea to bed, its 7.30am.
Her next thought is that Eden must be up getting ready for work, but there's no noise coming from their en suite bathroom, she grabs her dressing gown and moves down the stairs and into the front room, the panic in her starts to rise when there's still no sign of Eden. She glances across to the kitchen, not there either. She runs over to the freezer, and pulls it open, no Pistachio ice cream. Her craving is obviously the last thing on her mind, but she knows if Eden had bought it, and then had to go out for some reason, she would have put it in the freezer. The lack of ice cream confirms to Stella that Eden hasn't been home, since she left at 2.30am this morning.
She grabs the house phone and dials Eden's cell number. She surprised when she hears it ringing, and then glances over to the cabinet where her wife always leaves her phone on charge, and sees it lighting up and vibrating away.
"The one time you leave the house without your cell." Stella is chatting to herself under her breath.
She tries the next number that comes into her head.
"Mac Taylor." Mac answers almost immediately.
"Mac its Stella, have you seen Eden?"
This confuses him no end. "Stella it's seven thirty in the morning."
"So you haven't called her in on a case?" The panic is really starting to show in her voice. Mac picks up on it straight away.
"No, Stella what's going on?"
"I had a stupid, stupid craving last night, and Eden went out to some 24 hour store to buy me some ice cream. Mac she hasn't come home." She's becoming hysterical now.
Mac tries his best to sooth her. "Hey calm down, I've just gotten into the lab, before you start really panicking let me check with the receptionist if she got called in by the night shift."
Mac pulls the phone away from his ear as he speaks to the pretty blonde receptionist.
"Detective Taylor. Good Morning." She smiles sweetly.
"Can you tell me, did Detective Eden Bonasera get called in to work at all in the last 12 hours?"
Carla is the night shift receptionist, she'll be coming to the end of her shift very shortly, but she has been here all night.
"No definitely not. It's been a pretty slow night. Just a convenience store robbery."
Mac makes the connection straight away. "Which convenience store?"
Carla ideally flicks through her notes. "Antonio's, in Chelsea."
Mac's heart sinks, he's heard his daughter talk about this joint before, he places the phone back to his ear. "Stella, do you know which store Eden was going to last night?"
"She always goes to Antonio's that late. He's more likely to have the stuff."
Mac sighs. "Antonio's was robbed last night."
Carla had noticed Mac's change in demeanour when she confirmed the name of the store. So she had run and grabbed the file for the case and passed it to Mac, he frantically flicks through the papers.
"Mac what do you know?" Stella's panic level has hit maximum, she can't believe all this is down to her intense need for ice cream. Damn you stupid cravings.
"Err, three guys, armed, no shots fired. Shop owner's daughter was kidnapped from the scene."
Mac stops dead. Stella knows he's holding something back. "Mac what else?"
He exhales loudly; he knows this next part is going to do nothing for Stella's calmness levels. "Eden called it in. She chased after the guys in her SUV."
"I'm on my way in." Stella starts running around to get dressed.
"I'll tell night shift we're taking over the investigation." Mac hangs up. His daughter sure does have a knack of getting herself into bad situations.
Ashley had followed the van the raiders had left in all the way to East Harlem, where they had driven into a warehouse complex. Ashley slowly drove in after tem; she can see the warehouse they have entered. She parks the SUV and cuts the engine. Reaching for her mobile phone, she decides now is the time to call for back up. Damn, not the best time to be forgetting your mobile phone.
The area immediately outside the complex was just more factories and warehouses. She hadn't seen a payphone for miles. She couldn't risk going back out to find one, if they left the warehouse with Bella, they could get anywhere, looks like she's going solo on this one.
It's now approaching 6am, the morning sunshine is about to really start illuminating the Manhattan skyline. If these guys are going to make a move, they're going to do it soon. Ashley double checks her gun is fully loaded, before sighing and making her way towards the warehouse in question.
There's a porch that she assumes leads to the gaffer's office, rather than the main warehouse, which is where the van entered. She notices an open window above the porch. Jackpot. She re-holsters her gun, and starts slowly and as quietly as she can possibly manage climbing up the side of the porch an in through the open window.
Once inside she realises she's on a kind of mezzanine level that overhangs the main warehouse, she gets as close to the edge as is possible without being seen and glances down. The three men are standing around in a circle, one of them has a hold of Bella, she still looks terrified, the tears seem to have stopped now though. The main emotion of the three captors appears to be dismay.
They have removed their masks now; Ashley studies each of their faces and commits them to memory. She listens as the conversation flows below her.
"What kinda idiot has the bright idea to steal a kid?"
The guy whose idea it obviously was tries to defend himself. "I thought we could hold her to ransom or something?"
"Her pop's owns a two bit store, that he has to have open 24, 7. What the hell kinda ransom do you think we can get out of him?"
"Well if it's that bad, why did we even hit that joint in the first place."
Ashley has to stifle a grin, these guys really are idiots.
"Listen, that doesn't matter. What matters is that we now have a stinking kid. What are we gunna do with her?"
"We could just give her back?"
This obviously wasn't a good suggestion, as one of the guys clearly exasperated dives at his 'friend' and starts swinging punches. The third guy jumps in and tries to break them up.
"Give her back, you stupid son of a bitch." The guy throwing the punches is cursing under his breath. The third guy manages to separate them eventually.
Bella is now really crying again, the invader who had suggested giving her back, is the one who has a hold of the child. He starts to speak again. "Come on, you're making the girl cry."
The violent one dives for him again, the peacekeeper intervenes before he can start bashing the guy again.
"Come on Georgie calm down."
Georgie, another fact for Ashley to commit to memory. Georgie takes a deep breath; it appears he's come up with a solution.
"We're just gunna have to get rid of her."
"What do you mean by that?" The child minder doesn't like where this is going.
"What do you think I mean? We're gunna have to kill her." He's getting more and agitated as he speaks. "Pass me that gun."
When neither of the other two moves to pass him the fire arm, he erratically grabs it himself and points it at Bella.
Ashley, who had primed herself for action as soon as she heard the words get rid, has her own weapon pointed squarely at Georgie.
"I'm really sorry little girl, but this is the way it has to be." He takes the safety of the gun. That's all Ashley needed. She fires immediately, and hits him in the shoulder; he cries out in pain, drops the gun and falls to the ground instantaneously. The other two are in shock frantically trying to ascertain where the gun shot came from, while they are still disoriented, Ashley jumps from her position on the mezzanine, onto one of the still upright men, as she lands on him she smashes him in the face with her pistol, knocking him out.
The look of astonishment on the remaining thief's face is enough to make Ashley laugh out loud, if the situation wasn't so serious of course.
"I just want the girl." She says it calmly and looking him directly in the eyes. When he makes no motion at all she decides to up the ante a little.
"Don't make me shoot you for her." This appears to have had the desired effect. He lets go of Bella and shoves her a little in Ashley's direction. Bella just grabs hold of Ashley's sweat pants and squeezes her like she'd never going to let go.
"Honey I just need you to step to one side for a second." Bella does as she's told.
Ashley hasn't lowered her weapon yet, she nods towards the still shocked assailant, the one she has dubbed the 'babysitter' in her head. "You on your knees now."
She can't just let them get away. Luckily she had spotted a cardboard box full of plastic cable ties. She grabs one and secures the babysitter, he's the most dangerous of the three right now, one of the others is unconscious and the other is still writhing around in pain and whining like a little girl. Once she has bound his wrists she moves to the other two, and repeats the pattern with them, she's perhaps not as gentle as she could be with the aggressive one's shoulder injury. Oh well.
Once they are secure, she grabs Bella's hand; the child looks up at her, her face still tear stained. "Can we go home now Ashley?"
Ashley smiles. "I just need to make a phone call, and then I'll take you back to your Papa okay?"
The small child just nods, Ashley moves toward the office she had seen earlier. That was bound to have a telephone, Bella followed; she has her hand in a vice like grip. Ashley plan is to phone for backup to get the three stooges taken into custody, then head straight back to Antonio's. She hope's Stella's not too disappointed with how late her ice cream is.
Stella and Mac stride into Antonio's it's just after eight, Stella had gotten ready in record time. The store is still a mess, crime scene tape everywhere. The night shift had processed the scene, and done a thorough job by the looks of things, not that either of them expected anything less.
They head to the counter, a man who they assume is Antonio Dominguez is sitting behind it look like his world has just caved in. It's a feeling Stella and Mac can both relate to. Antonio looks up and sees two people walking towards him. He can tell they're cops. He's at the end of his tether, why aren't these people out there looking for his daughter.
"Mr Dominguez?" Mac breaks the silence. "I'm detective Mac Taylor."
Before Mac can continue, Antonio lets his emotions get the better of him. "I don't care who you are. You shouldn't be here; you should be out there looking for my daughter."
The tears that where threatening a second ago are spilling onto his cheeks, Stella decides to take over at this point.
"Mr Dominguez, my name is Stella Bonasera." His head immediately snaps up at her words. "My wife is missing."
"You're Stella?" She stops her line of conversation and nods, her own tears threatening. "Eden's wife?"
She nods again. Antonio's heart fills with sadness. "She followed them out of here, they turned right out of the parking lot, after that I don't know."
"Thank you." Stella smiles, but her heart sinks, they have nothing to go on.
Antonio reaches out across the table and places a hand gently on Stella's arm, causing her eyes to meet his once more. "She an incredible woman your wife."
Stella smile grateful. "I know."
"Be careful guys, I'll start getting a big head. I'll struggle to get back out through the door."
All three heads whip up at the sound of the voice, the voice they all recognise. Ashley has just come sauntering through the door of Antonio's, she has Bella in her arms now, the poor thing is still clinging onto to Ashley like her life depends on it.
"Bella! You brought my daughter back for me."
Ashley tries to take the emotion out of the situation. "Tell you what, I'll trade you her for some pistachio ice cream, and a mango?" She wiggles her eyebrows at Stella as she speaks.
"Anything you want Eden, anything. It's all yours. On the house."
As he's speaking he's getting closer and closer to Eden and Bella, once he's within reach Bella practically dives into his arms, and he in turn takes Eden in his arms, and showers her with kisses and just keeps repeating the words 'Thank you' over and over again.
Stella and Mac giggle at the scene before them. Stella is just so relieved. Ashley manages to work herself free from his embrace.
"It was my pleasure Antonio. You might wanna get this one to bed. She's had quite the late night."
Antonio nods, and takes his little girl back upstairs. Ashley turns to Stella and Mac.
"So, fancy some ice cream?"
Mac laughs; Stella puts her arms around her wife. "How do you manage to get yourself into so much trouble?"
"Excuse me wifey, I don't remember this late night shopping expedition being for my benefit."
Stella just shakes her head. "Are you okay? Are you hurt at all?" Stella eyes look over every inch of her wife as she's speaking.
"I'm absolutely fine. A little tired but okay, those guys put the baddies from Home Alone to shame."
Stella kisses her wife, just completely relieved to have her back and seemingly unharmed. Mac clears his throat.
"Stella, we should get back to the Lab. Eden go and have a nap, come in later." Ashley nods grateful, she not sure she could get through a full shift on a couple of hours sleep; she's done it before mind.
Stella and Mac head for the exit. Ashley reaches into the freezer behind the counter, the pistachio ice cream that Antonio dug out for her last night had been placed in at the front, and the Mango is still out on the counter.
"Hey, I didn't go through all that trauma, so you could forget your ice cream and fruit."
Ashley has a cheeky glint in her eye as Stella turns around at her words. She walks back to her wife, and takes the items from her hand, before grabbing her for another kiss. "I love you so much."
Ashley smiles as she pulls away from the kiss. "I love you too. I'll see you later."
Stella walks back over to Mac, and they promptly leave. Ashley just shakes her head. What a day. She pulls a twenty out of her pocket, and leaves it on the counter for Antonio, before taking one last look around the store and heading for her own vehicle. This pregnancy has been eventful so far.
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