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 6

A week or so has passed since Stella had her date with Mark. It was awful, she cringes just recalling it. Mark thought that buying her dinner, meant he was going home with her. In the end she had to make it abundantly clear that, that wasn't going to happen. His confidence certainly took a bashing.

Stella couldn't decide if Eden was avoiding her, or if it was just coincidence that they hadn't really had a chance to talk. She guessed unfortunately that it was probably the former. She sighed. Another shift has just come to an end, and she hadn't really seen Eden all day, her heart aches at the thought. She isn't surprised though, for all Eden knew Stella was still dating Mark. Stella decided rather than go back to an empty apartment she would stay in her office and catch up on paperwork, not for the first time in the last week.

Ashley on the other hand has just left the building. She has been feeling more and more despondent about the whole Stella situation. The thought of her and Mark together was killing her. She has been drinking a lot recently, in fact was considering hitting a bar right now, better than going to an empty apartment. Ashley knows she's on self-destruct mode right now; she has to snap out of it, plenty more fish in the sea and all that. She's disturbed from her thoughts by someone calling her name; unfortunately she recognises the smarmy voice.

"Detective Ashley. Hi, I thought I recognised you." Mark Oliver.

"Mr Oliver. How are you? I think Stella's working late tonight." He looks confused.

"Stella? She didn't tell you? We only went out that once." Ashley lifted her head, and looked at him like he had two heads. He obviously didn't seem to notice. The enormity of his words sunk in with Ashley, newly perked up she decides she's gunna have fun with this idiot.

"Really? Not quite the stud you think you are then hey?"

"Ha, well it's hard with someone as frigid as Bonasera." Ashley clenches her teeth; her blood is quite literally boiling. "She sold me some story about not believing in sex before marriage. So I kicked her to the kerb."

Ashley can't help the laugh that escapes lips. "Stella told you she doesn't believe in sex before marriage. Man that is the funniest thing I've heard. I think maybe she just didn't believe in sex with you, full stop."

Oliver seems to be a little wounded by this comment, but he lets it slide, it will take more than that to break his confidence. "Yeah well forget about her, I need a real woman, who knows how to satisfy a man. So what do you say, can I buy you a drink?"

Ashley is in disbelief; her mouth is literally hanging open. "Well for starters I wouldn't have a clue how to satisfy a man."

"Aw you're not a goody two shoes like your boss are you? There was a time when NYPD knew how to have a good time."

"I'm far from good. I'm also far from straight." The penny seems to drop immediately. Maybe Oliver isn't as stupid as he looks after all.

"You're a dyke?" There is a vicious undertone to his voice, Ashley instantly feels uncomfortable, she glances around the street, and notices for the first time that it's pretty empty, not to mention pitch black. He continues.

"Well that explains a lot, maybe its catching, maybe that's why Stella wasn't interested."

"Or maybe it's just because you're an idiot." Ashley couldn't help it, the words just rolled off her tongue. She immediately regretted it due to their current situation. This tipped Oliver over the edge; he grabs hold of her and pushes her into a dark alley.

"Maybe I should teach you some manners." Ashley sees a crazy look in his eyes, and smells alcohol on his breath, he has her up against the wall, and she starts to struggle against him. Ashley mind can't help but go back to that place ten years ago. She tries to block it out, the panic starts to rise in her. Oliver has his face right in her face now, and he continues to taunt her.

"You know what women like you need?" He doesn't wait for an answer, which is good because Ashley is incapable of giving one. "You need a real man, to show you what you're missing."

With this he forces his lips onto Ashley's, assaulting them, a complete contrast to the last kiss she had savoured. His actions took her by surprise, so much so that it takes her brain a few seconds to catch up. When it does, she bites down hard, taking his bottom lip into her mouth, and piercing it with her teeth. It has the desired effect, she can immediately taste blood, he stops what he's doing immediately, but in a split second he has punched Ashley square in the face. Right on the nose, blood everywhere.

"You bitch; I can't believe you bit me." Oliver staggered out of the alley. Ashley takes some deep breaths, frantically trying to regain her composure. She was so frightened, that was a little too close to history repeating itself, she begins to sob. She quickly makes the decision rather than walk the streets of New York covered in blood, she will head back up to the lab to clean up. She takes the back way; she really isn't in the mood for answer questions about her current state.

A few minutes later when Ashley reaches the lab, she is happy to see that its relatively empty, just a few cleaners and lab techs, she keeps her head down to avoid prying eyes. She stops dead in her tracks when she sees the light on in Stella's office. Because of the way she has entered the lab, the back way, she now has to pass Stella's office to get to the locker room. Dammit, she hasn't thought this through.

Alternative ways to get to the locker room are currently racing through her mind, too late the door to Stella's office opens.

Stella decided she needed coffee, so was heading to the break room, as soon as she stepped out of her office she knew there was someone there, she looks to her right, and is alarmed to see Eden, blood stained, tear stained. Panic starts to rise; she is over to Eden in an instant, full of concern.

"Eden what the hell happened?" Her hands are immediately on her face, inspecting her nose, he heart breaks when she sees fresh tears in her eyes.

"I bumped into your boyfriend outside." She moves her face out of Stella's reach.

"My what?" Then it dawns on Stella. "Mark Oliver? He did this to you?" Ashley just nods and looks away.

Stella is furious, now it's her blood that begins to boil. "I'm going to kill him." Stella runs back into her office and grabs her coat, she heads immediately to the elevator, the only thought on her mind is to get the bastard.

Ashley is too emotional to care, she just heads for the locker room, and starts to remove her clothes, well the blood stained ones anyway, she strips to her bra and jeans and heads over to the full length mirror to assess the damage. Her face is a mess. She feels no emotion, just takes a sponge and dips it into hot water, and just methodically starts to clean the bud from her face. Luckily her nose doesn't seem to be broken, thank god the last thing she wants to do is have to have a trip to the hospital. Her nose is however still bleeding, so she lies down on the bench in the middle of the room and hopes gravity will do its job and stop the flow.

It's in this position Stella finds her twenty minutes later. She sits on the bench beside her. Her initial anger has subsided, mainly due to the fact that she managed to grab Flack on her way out. They found Oliver in a local bar and promptly arrested him for assaulting a police officer. They decided to let him stew in the cells for the night; Flack can deal with him tomorrow. Once again Stella can't believe she has caused Eden so much pain.

"We arrested him."

Ashley sits up, the bleeding has finally stopped. "Good. That guy is a real piece of work, what did you ever see in him?"

"I didn't." Stella answered honestly. She feels so stupid.

Ashley is too tired and on the verge of being far too emotional, to get caught up in anything else with Stella right now. She decides the best course of action is to leave. She grabs a spare shirt from her locker, and grabs her bag, and heads to leave for the second time today, hopefully this will be a lot more successful.

"I'm tired, I'm gunna head home."

"Do you need a ride?" Stella desperately wanted to talk to Eden, to hold her, just to try and make her feel better, or give her one dash of comfort, but the state she's in right now she doesn't want to push her.

"Nah I'm okay thanks. Listen I think I might take the day off tomorrow."

"Yeah absolutely. I'll clear it with Mac. Take as much time as you need."

"Thanks, just the one day should be fine, I'm just really tired. I wanna sleep, and forget any of this ever happened."

As an exhausted Ashley heads for the exit, Stella hopes Eden is only referring to the events of today when she says she wants to forget, and not about Stella completely. She watched her leave, when the locker room door closes behind her, Stella slumps back onto the bench and begins to sob. She's supposed to protect the people she loves, and Eden just keeps getting hurt, over and over again. Stella longs to hold her and make everything better. Her heart actually aches because she is not with her right now. This is getting beyond a close. It's at this moment Stella finally decides that she needs to tell Eden how she feels, she cannot bear to be without her any longer, and she no longer cares what the repercussions of that are, or what anyone else thinks. But not tonight, tonight she will let her rest. With this thought clear in her mind Stella wipes her tears, confident, and excited about what tomorrow may hold.

Heart 1 Head 0.

The time has finally arrived. Stella has just finished work; she jumped straight into her car and headed over to Eden's apartment building. Currently she has just pulled up outside, and she was impressed. She knew Eden's address, but she has never actually been here before. It's an impressive modern building, with a concierge and everything.

Stella is nervous, but she tries to swallow it, she keeps repeating over and over again in her head 'this is going to happen'. She heads into the building smiling at the aforementioned concierge as she passes, he tips his hat at her, this makes her chuckle, just like in the movies. She feels really happy.

Eden is sitting on her balcony, feet up just looking out over the city. She loves sitting up here in the evening, looking out at New York, god she loves this place. She is feeling a lot better about life today; especially after the massive sleep she had last night. The depression that has engulfed her for the past few weeks, gone. She was trying to convince herself that this has nothing to do with finding out that Stella wasn't seeing Oliver, but it obviously was. There was no two ways about it; she is hooked on Stella Bonasera.

She is slightly startled when the buzzer for her apartment goes off, she isn't expecting anyone. She assumes it must be Adam coming round to check on her. She is definitely not expecting to see Stella standing there when she looks through the peep hole. She opens the door with a beaming smile on her face, which is reciprocated by Stella.

"I see you're in a better mood than yesterday." Stella smiles at Eden, her feeling of nervousness melted away as soon as she sees Eden smiling again.

"Stella, hey. Come on in." Ashley opens the door, locking it behind them once Stella steps through; Ashley heads straight through the living room, back out onto the balcony. Stella follows and is instantly mesmerised by the view.

"Wow Eden, this view is to die for."

Ashley smiles, Stella looks like a kid on Christmas morning, she doesn't respond the Stella's comment, just drinks her in. Beautiful.

Stella finally tears her eyes away from New York City, and gives Eden all of her attention. "This apartment is very impressive. I thought you said you took a pay cut to come here?"

Ashley can't help but laugh, seems Stella remembers everything she's said to her. "I did take a pay cut. I have a really nice grandmother, who also happens to be loaded."

"Rich grandparents hey? You never mentioned that before."

"Well I only reveal on a need to know basis, otherwise I'd never know if the girls were just after me for the money."

This makes Stella chuckle, she hasn't stopped smiling since she arrived here, she loves how comfortable they are, it's so natural, so right. "Well I gotta say you are a much more attractive prospect now."

Ashley raises an eyebrow at Stella referring to her as an attractive prospect, not really sure how she should react, so she just continues with the insane happy smile she's had plastered on her face for the last few minutes.

Stella decides no time like the present to do what she has come here to do. She sits down next to Eden, who has gone back to gazing out over the city.

Stella decides to gently bring up the subject of what happened yesterday. "So how's your nose?"

Ashley looks back over at Stella, a tension seems to descend in the air, it's like they both know something is about to happen, but Ashley isn't sure what, and this scares her a little. "It's okay, just a bit sore. But not broken, thank god, that wouldn't have been a good look."

"He was charged with assaulting a police officer this morning; he's going to plead guilty. He'll lose his job."

"Good." For the first time this evening Ashley frowns, thinking about that idiot has this affect on her. Stella feels like she needs to explain.

"I want you to know why I went out with him."

Ashley feels instantly awkward. " Stella you don't have too, it's really none of my business."

"Isn't it? And besides I want to tell you." Stella is determined she is going to explain herself; Ashley can sense this, so she motions for he to continue.

"When we kissed." Ashley can feel her cheeks starting to turn red; she turns away from Stella so she can't see her embarrassment. "It blew me away; I didn't know what to feel. I panicked. I never did apologise for slapping you."

"You don't have to." Stella has Ashley's full attention now. Ashley still has no idea what's going on, but she can feel the air leaving her lungs, must remember to breathe.

"Eden I wanted that kiss as much as you did, more even. That's what freaked me out, I didn't lash out because I didn't want to kiss you, it was because I wanted to so much. And I couldn't handle what that meant. I have never been attracted to a woman before. I thought going out with Mark, would give me some perspective."

"And did it?"

"It made me see things clearer than I ever have before. When I saw how hurt you where, when you found out about it. I hated myself for hurting you. I was worried I couldn't be in a relationship with a woman, but I was worried about it for all the wrong reasons, I was more worried about what other people would think."

Ashley could help but notice that most of what Stella had said was in the past tense. "'was worried' aren't you anymore?"

Stella smiled, she was tempted to tease Eden but that would be far too cruel. "Well I guess I realised that what I want is probably far more important than what other people think of me."

Ashley knew she was probably about to sound really dense, but she had to be absolutely sure what Stella saying. "And what do you want?"

Stella smiled; she is cute when she's nervous. She decides to spell it out as simply as she can. "You."

Ashley's heart explodes. A tear falls from her eye. But she has to make sure Stella is definitely sure this is what she wants. "You sure you know what you're letting yourself in for. I know you say you don't care what people think, but it can be pretty hard."

"I think as long as I've got you by my side, I can get through anything. That is, if you want to be by my side." Stella is suddenly very aware that Ashley hasn't actually said she has feelings for her back. She's beginning to feel slightly worried.

She needn't have. "Of course I do. God Stella, I've wanted to be with you since the moment I met you. Even though you were a bitch."

Stella relief is obvious, she exhales, and looks over at Ashley, who is smirking back at her, she really wants to kiss Stella but is understandably apprehensive after the last time. "I really want to kiss you, but I'm scared you'll hit me again."

Stella laughs, and moves towards Eden, grabbing her face in her hands, they both lean in to one another, and their lips meet. It's the most perfect kiss. It starts slowly, but it's filled with emotion, filled with love. Ashley pulls back, "I can't believe this happening."

"I know." I was all Stella could manage; she needed Eden's lips back on hers. She pulls her back in. Ashley is enjoying this, especially since this kiss isn't ending in a black eye.

The passion continues to grow between them; the kiss becomes a lot more forceful, this time its Stella that pulls back, Ashley is worried that they are moving too fast. This is why she is astounded by Stella's next words.

"Take me to bed." Stella is longing for this she needs it. She sees the surprise in Eden's eyes, she was probably expecting her to want to take things slowly, but Stella feels like they have been acting slowly enough.

"Are you sure?" the desire in Stella's eyes gives her the answer. But just in case that wasn't enough, Stella rises from the couch, and takes Eden's hand, pulling her up, she leads her inside without saying a word, Eden directs her to the bedroom, and Stella pulls her in closing the door behind them.

Part 7

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