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 34

Stella had gotten home about an hour ago, from what had been her last shift before maternity leave. Her confrontation with Katy was just before she left work. Audrey is due to arrive from Chicago tomorrow. This is all such a huge mess, and a mess she could do without right now. She rubs the palm of her hand over her burgeoning bump, and sighs.

Ashley waltzes through the front door of her apartment. What a day. She feels exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. She can't wait to hold Stella in her arms; she knows that will make everything better, even if it is only temporarily. She strides straight into the front room, excited to tell Stella that everything has been cleared up with Katy, and everyone knows where they stand. Her excitement quickly evaporates when she sees the look on her wife's face.

"What's wrong?" Her voice is full of concern, as she joins Stella on the couch.

Stella doesn't know where to start. Ashley's worried she thinks she hasn't done the deed, so she quickly moves to reassure her. "I've told Katy in no uncertain terms that it's you I love. That it's you I want to be with."

"Really?" Stella's tone is harsher than she intended, but she can't help it, she's so incredibly angry. She sees the hurt flash across Eden's face, but she can't stop herself.

"In no uncertain terms hey?" Ashley nods her head, confused as to exactly what she's done wrong.

"Tell me then Eden, why did I get a visit from your girlfriend this afternoon, telling me that she's taken a job in New York, and she sticking around to win you back. And even better than that, she doesn't give a damn that she's going to destroy our family in the process."

Stella really loses it, she's sobbing. "She wants to destroy my family." She barely gets this out through the tears.

Ashley wastes no time in throwing her arms around the hormonal woman, and holding her until she calms down and the tears subside. Ashley is really confused; she can't believe Katy's behaviour. Now the anger that had been evident in Stella has transferred to Ashley. She is seething. All she wants to do is find Katy and put her firmly in her place, she can't believe she would upset a pregnant woman so much, Ashley feels her own tears starting to form.

She kisses Stella on the top of her head, her tears have stopped now, and they've both just been sitting here lost in their own thoughts. Ashley needs Stella to know that she's got nothing to worry about, although she knows that won't be easy given Stella's current hormonal state. She just starts to speak.

"Do you remember the first day we ever met?"

Stella is startled at first that her wife has spoken, but then smiles at her words, and the memories they invoke. "Yeah."She answers the question simply.

"I think I fell in love with you that day."

Stella is shocked at Eden's words, mainly because she remembers well how that first meeting went. Ashley giggles at the expression on her wife's face.

"Yes, Stella Bonasera, even though you we're a complete bitch, I really do believe I fell in love with you that day." She sighs. "Which is weird, because I didn't know I believed in love at first sight."

Stella now completely intrigued as to where Eden is going with this, has sat up to face her wife no longer snuggled into the crook of her neck. She can tell Eden is lost in thoughts obviously reminiscing. Out loud apparently.

"What about our first kiss?"

Stella cringes as she remembers the almighty slap she gave her. Before Stella has a chance to swallow her embarrassment Eden continues. "That was the day I realised I couldn't live without you. Because I thought after what happened, there was no chance for you and me. I just felt empty."

"I was terrified." Stella has been reeled in by Eden's story and is caught in an almost trance like state in her own memories of the time. She starts to clarify what she means. "Nobody had ever kissed me like that. Had ever made me feel so excited and so absolutely terrified at the same time. I knew nobody would ever kiss me like that again, that part took me a couple of weeks to realise. . . "

"And then we had our first real kiss."

Stella smiles again. "If I remember rightly, it was more than just a kiss that night."

"It was just so perfect. Until the next morning."

"When you thought I'd skipped out on you?"

"Then it was my turn to be terrified."

"You had nothing to be scared about."

"I know. Just like you have nothing to be scared about now."

Stella frowns, Ashley continues. "Katy was my first love. I can't do anything to change that. But we were kids, our relationship was fantastic don't get me wrong, but it was fantastic for the 20 year old kids that we were. It can't hold a candle to the foundations that we've built over these last almost what, four years?"

Stella nods. Feeling a lot more reassured. Ashley looks her directly in the eyes. "Obviously she wasn't listening when I spoke to her earlier, but I will make sure she hears me next time."

Stella nods, feeling silly that she ever doubted this wonderful woman. She snuggles back into the crook of Eden's neck. Ashley kisses her again on the head. "But not tonight. Tonight I want to spend the evening with my beautiful pregnant wife."

Ashley strides into PD, she's still fuming from Stella's revelations last night about Katy's behaviour, and she's not wasting any time putting the Redhead straight.

"Hey Ashley, what brings you out of the lab down here?" Flack.

"Hey Don." They do their customary handshake. "I'm looking for detective Peterson. Have you seen her?"

He nods towards the woman in question. Slightly worried that his best friend is seeking her out. "Thanks Flack."

She doesn't wait for a response from her pal; she just strides over to Katy. Katy can't help the smile that spreads on her face when she sees Eden coming towards her.

"Hey you."

"Hey. Do you wanna grab a coffee?" She decides to ignore her over familiar greeting.

"Sure." Katy grabs her jacket and they head outside to the vendor on the street and order two lattes.

Katy can't take her eyes off Eden. She still loves this woman dearly, she looks tense, like maybe she didn't get much sleep last night. Katy had caught some interesting gossip around the lab last time she had been up there, about Eden and Stella's sex life, or lack of one. She had overheard Stella chatting to one of her colleagues, Lindsay maybe. She reaches out and Places a hand on Eden's arm.

"Hey, are you okay?"

Ashley flinches at the contact and pulls her arm out of Katy's reach. "I'm fine."

Katy has more to say apparently. "It's just that I heard you're having a difficult time in your marriage at the moment."

Ashley can't believe her ears. The anger is really threatening to take off now. "The only issues I'm having in my marriage at the moment are being caused by you."

Katy ignores the fact that Eden's voice is tinged with anger. "Really, because I heard you're having bedroom issues. And you know we never had an issue in that department."

She wiggles her eyebrows, and puts her arm around her former lover. Ashley is possibly the most unimpressed she's been since Katy resurrected from the dead. She quickly grabs her hand and removes it from her shoulder.

"My wife is almost nine months pregnant with twins. I would've thought the reason we aren't having sex right now is obvious. . ." this is firmly through gritted teeth.

Katy clearly hasn't noticed, or just decides to ignore Eden's obvious anger. "Well if you're ever feeling a little frustrated."

Ashley laughs, is this really happening. "What I can just jump into bed with you?"

Ashley sighs. "I thought when I told you yesterday, that I was married with twins on the way, you'd realise what that meant. I thought you were a good person Katy?"

"I am Eden." She starts to panic. "I just don't believe you could love anyone as much as you love me."

Ashley looks her dead in the eyes; the emotion she sees there almost kills her. "I'm only gunna say this once, because I know how much it must hurt for you to hear it. Stella is the love of my life. That statement would be true whether you died or not."

Katy starts to cry, Ashley manages to hold it together. "Katy I know you've taken a job here in New York, and I would love nothing more than for you to be part of my life, but you've got to realise that can only be as friends. And you have got to stop behaving like this."

Katy nods, she can't speak through tears. "I've gotta get back to the lab."

Ashley quickly turns and heads back towards the building. The tears that had been threatening, are now spilling over, she hates that she's hurting Katy so much, but she absolutely can't let her ex girlfriend keep hurting her wife the way she is.

With Stella now on maternity leave probably for at least the next six months, Ashley has been made temporary second in command. She was kinda worried about how Danny would react, obviously he's been at the New York crime lab a lot longer than she has, and with Mac being her Dad and Stella her wife, she's more than aware of how it could have been construed. But Danny was fine with it, more than fine, although they were both equally qualified to step in, Ashley's record is exemplary, and her academic pursuits mean Danny was more than happy to concede the position to her, and congratulate her as more than worthy for the role.

Anyway the outcome of all of that is Stella's office is now her office. This is where she's currently sitting. Heart aching, staring at the screen on her computer, desperately trying to stop the tears that are threatening to fall. She knows she needs to be strong for Stella, for her babies, but the truth is she feels on the brink of disaster, she hates herself for this thought, but things would have been so much easier if Katy had just stayed dead. Unbelievable, she's spent the last 14 years wishing she was still alive, and now. Well this new Katy isn't the Katy she knew. She prays the woman she remembers comes back, so she can be part of her life.

She is surprised when the door to her office swings open, but also glad of the distraction, she wonders who would just stride in without knocking. Mac? Adam? She looks up and sees her Grandmother Audrey Harbridge, looking like an angel sent to save her; it's too much for Ashley all the emotion she's been holding in since Katy returned breaks through a barrier at the sight of her grandmother. She just breaks down and starts to sob. Audrey rushes round to the other side of the desk and takes her granddaughter, her little girl into her arms.

They stay like this for what seems like an age, Ashley's certain the only reason she's actually stopped crying is because she's run out of tears. Satisfied that the floods have stopped at least for now, Audrey makes herself comfortable in the chair at the other side of the desk. It's been a long time since she and her beloved granddaughter had a heart to heart. That is about to change.

"I take it Stella's filled you in."

Stella had picked Audrey up from the airport; the drive back to their apartment had been an interesting one, so much so that when they dropped Audrey's bags off, she headed straight for the lab.

"I'm gobsmacked Eden. I can't believe she's alive."

"Join the club," Ashley sighs. "This is so messed up."

"I understand Katy hasn't reacted to well to your domestic situation." Audrey smiles.

"Understatement." Ashley rubs her temple, she feels like she's had a permanent headache these last few days. "She's not the same girl."

"Of course she isn't." Audrey can't believe Eden would be so naive.

Ashley is confused, Audrey explains herself. "You've had 14 years to grieve, to get over her. She's had 14 years living in hope, hoping that you would wait for her."

"That's ridiculous; I didn't know I had anything to wait for." She cant mask the annoyance from her voice.

"I know that. But if the tables had been turned, are you saying you wouldn't have had that same hope?" Audrey is trying her best to make her see sense.

"I guess. But I couldn't have expected her to put her life on hold for 14 years, especially if she thought I was dead."

"Eden I'm not saying she's being rational or reasonable, but do you remember what you where like when she first passed away?"

Ashley is confused again. Audrey takes pity on her once more. "She's basically where you were 14 years ago. She's at day zero, she's lost you and she needs to get over that. If we're lucky it won't take her the ten years it took you."

Ashley is starting to get where her gran is coming from. "Let's hope not. I'm not sure Stella can cope with her much longer. It's one thing to be grieving but I was never mean with it, I never hurt anyone."

Before Ashley gets a chance to continue, she's brought to a halt by her Grandmothers raucous laughter.

"Eden Alexa Ashley Bonasera. I love you to pieces. But you sure have got a short memory." Audrey struggles to get her laughter under control due to the look on Eden's face right now, but she manages, just about and clarifies her latest sentence.

"Alexandra Santiago." Ashley knows exactly where her grandmother is going and she can't help but cringe. "I think she can testify to just what kind of person you were in the immediate aftermath of Katy's death."

"Point taken." Ashley can't argue, she knows she treated Alex badly, she hates she was ever like that, but it certainly makes a penny drop, then she has the horrible realisation. "I didn't really sort myself out until I met Stella. She's taken a job in New York, is this going to go on forever?"

Ashley can't help the new tears that start to form. Audrey reaches across the table, and strokes her hand. "She just needs time Eden."

Ashley nods. She knows her grandmother is right; she's just not sure how long she and Stella can survive with Katy in her current mood.

"Well well well. It appears miracles do happen."

Katy is startled, but she instantly recognises the voice. Audrey Harbridge, her ex lovers grandmother, she had been like a second mother to her all those years ago.

"Audrey." Katy jumps from her chair and throws her arms around the old lady. Tears in her eyes are matched by those shining in the eyes of the woman she hasn't seen for 14 years.

"I thought we could take a walk?" Audrey struggles to keep her composure. It really is true, she really is alive. Audrey cares deeply for this young woman. It had broken her heart all those years ago when she had passed away.

"I'd like that." Katy quickly wipes away the tears that have spilled over, and follows Audrey out of the front door of the Police department, and they head towards the park in a comfortable silence. A million thoughts and questions running through each of their minds.

When they reach the park they make themselves comfortable on a bench, Audrey reaches over and grabs Katy's hand, and just holds it in her own. Katy loves this woman like her own grandmother; this small gesture makes her heart swell and the tears fall again.

"You must have been through hell." Audrey's words take Katy by surprise, she was expecting a lecture from Audrey, but it seems she's the only person so far who has tried to imagine what it must have been like on her side.

"I know I'm acting crazy right now Audge. But I can't help it. It's like I'm watching myself do all these awful things and I can't stop. My brain is spinning all the time."

Audrey smiles at the use of her pet name, Katy always used to call her back in the day. "You need time Katy. You can't keep doing what you're doing."

"I know."

"Maybe you should go home for a little while, get your head together. Get used to the reality of life as it is now."

"Eden and Stella you mean." Audrey nods, now she knows why her granddaughter is having such a terrible time with this, you can practically see Katy's heart breaking as she speaks, pain is etched all over her face. Audrey nods, and squeezes the younger woman's hand.

"You're really the only person who saw me and Eden together and her and Eden together. She says Stella is the love of her life."

She looks up at Audrey face full of hope, tears streaming down her face. Audrey can't help the sorrow that consumes her. But she can't lie to the young woman.

"She is." Katy closes her eyes. She feels like she's been stabbed right through the heart. She leans back against the bench.

"Then I'll let go."

It's all see can manage before the sobs take over her body. Audrey pulls her in and tries her best to comfort her, all the while trying to keep her own tears under control.

Ashley has thrown herself into work for the rest of the day. She's currently at a crime scene, a Homicide, the body has just been taken by the coroner, and she's busy processing the scene. It's really helped take her mind off all other aspects of her life.

Mac has just joined her at the scene. He's worried about her. "How's it going?"

Ashley is still in complete work mode. "Yeah pretty good, looks like a 9 millimetre. Through and through. I'm just looking for the bullet; the casings are over there so . . ."

As she gestures towards the casings she takes in the look on Mac's face. "Oh, you mean how am I?"

He smiles and nods. "I feel like I'm trapped in a dream, and I'm praying I wake up soon. This. . ." She gestures out across the crime scene. "Is the only thing keeping me sane right now."

"No wonder you're so engrossed. Things still no better with Katy then?" He's really worried.

"I don't know. We had another talk this morning, so fingers crossed."

"Everything's gunna be alright kiddo." He's also adamant that no matter what they will get through this. As a family.

"I really hope you're right pops."

They are interrupted by the sound of Ashley's cell phone singing out. She pulls it out of her pocket, and sees Stella's name on the caller ID. She silently prays that Katy hasn't had any more little talks with her wife.

"Hello." She braces herself for the worst; but is shocked when it's her grandmother's voice on the other end of the phone.

"Eden, it's me. Get to the hospital as soon as you can. Stella's waters have broken."

To Be Continued

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