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Chapter 15: The Truth
I fell for it again. These deceiving emotions that make me doubt reality and second guess common sense. I told myself I’d never do it again, yet here I am. But never again. I mean it this time. What’s the use? You make yourself believing in something and even if its real and true it can never last. So why even bother? From this point on, I’m not bothering.
“Aiden!” Ashley all but yelled as she threw her arms around his neck.
Aiden lifted her off her feet as she embraced her. “Hey there, shortstop.”
“I’m so stoked you’re finally here,” she intoned while pulling him into her hotel suite.
“Me too. Two whole months of freedom, rock, partying and best of all…groupies!” He wiggled his hips in excitement.
Ashley couldn’t help but smile at her friend. “I know. I can’t wait to get this party started. And I say we start right now. Shall I order up some Patron my good man?”
“Please,” he said in a shockingly impressive English accent.
Ashley went to grab the room phone as Aiden poked around. “So what’s been up?”
Order made, she sat on the arm of the couch. “Nothing much really. Same ol’, same ol’.”
“That so?” He asked he asked with clear skepticism.
“You know, rockin’ out.”
“Right,” he said. It was clear Ashley wasn’t in the mood to talk at the moment and he wouldn’t push her just yet. He answered the door when the knock came quickly distributing shots and lime. “To the most kick ass summer of our lives.”
“Whhhoooooo!” Aiden shouted as the alcohol burned his insides.
“What was that?” Spencer asked herself more than Madison as they made their way to their room.
“From the sound of it Ashley’s idiot friend Aiden is here. He’s so loud and obnoxious.”
Spencer thought back to the last time he joined the tour. “Does he visit often?”
“On and off. He just got a new job as a coach, which means he probably has the summer off, which means we have to deal with him on a regular basis,” she finished with an eye roll.
“Well it’s good she’ll have a friend around to keep her company,” Spencer replied offhandedly.
Ashley had one last show to do in Chicago before they went on to Detroit. She showered and got ready for the glam squad to fix her up before show time.
Aiden cleared his throat as he tried to ignore her near nakedness. “Why so down? Aren’t you excited about the show?”
“Well you have to be excited about seeing Spencer.” He raised his brow suggestively.
“I knew something was up.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked while brushing the kinks out of her wet hair.
“You’ve been mopy all day. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I figured it had to be Spencer related.”
“What gives you that idea? And if you even begin to say ‘I told you so’ you can pack your shit now.”
Aiden held up his hands. “All I’m saying is that I know nothing ever really affects your mood besides a woman. And last I heard the current woman tormenting your peaceful, groupie filled bliss was Spencer. So spill.”
Ashley heaved a sigh. Sometimes it was really annoying how well Aiden knew her, though she’d never trade that for the world. She sat next to him on the bed and recounted the entire sordid story.
“Earlier this week Madison had to fly back to NY…”
“You have a baby?” Ashley asked as she staggered backward, sitting heavily on the large coffee table.
The tears continued to pour down Spencer’s face as she looked down at her lap unwilling to witness the pain she had created.
“Had a baby. A baby boy named Skyler.” She fought back the sob that was threatening to escape. “Five years ago Madison and I decided to have a baby. We were so in love…” She paused. “…All we wanted to do was share our love with someone else. We found a donor and it took the very first time out. It was like it was meant to be.” A small smile graced her lips as she went on. “Madison carried him. We got a bigger house and everything. Nursery, the whole nine. All of her visits showed good signs, the doctors were optimistic.”
The tears came unbidden as Spencer fought to go on. “Madison began to have pains about a month before the baby was due. We decided it best to go to the emergency room, just in case. When we got there they informed us that Maddy was going into labor and that our son was going to be premature. We didn’t care so long as our baby was safe.”
Ashley wanted to comfort Spencer, hold her and tell her it was alright, but she couldn’t. She wasn’t sure if it was the liquor or from heartache, but all she could do was sit there and let Spencer tell her story.
“Something went wrong, terribly wrong in the delivery room. It was a nightmare, Madison almost died and the umbilical cord was wrapped around the babies neck. As a last resort they did an emergency c section.” She sobbed for a few moments. “It was too late. Our baby was stillborn. My perfect little child. He had dark hair and blue eyes. A perfect representation of us. Gone before he had a chance to even see the world.” She wept freely the pain from the memory still fresh. She wept for her baby, for her relationship with Madison that had fallen apart, and for the budding love for Ashley she knew she couldn’t pursue. She cried for her mistakes made and the ones she was going to make.
Finally honing in to what was happening, Ashley took a seat next to Spencer pulling her close. Spencer buried her head in Ashley’s neck and cried. Ashley stroked her hair gently and allowed Spencer to release her pent up frustrations.
A little while later the tears stopped and Spencer took the opportunity to look into Ashley’s eyes. “I lost Madison that night. She pulled through and recovered medically, but mentally she changed. She wasn’t the loving, caring woman I knew her to be. She became cold and career driven. Shortly after she started working for you and I never saw her anymore. I feel like she secretly blamed me or something. Her touch was…is different. I don’t see that woman I met all those years ago when I look into her eyes. But that doesn’t matter because I can’t leave her. She’s been through so much. What kind of person would I be if I left her now?”
Spencer was pleading with Ashley with her eyes. She needed to hear that none of that was her fault and that terrible events like this cause people to grow apart. She needed Ashley to tell her that five years is a long time to stay with someone out of obligation and that if the love is gone then its okay for her move on. Spencer needed to hear that looking out for herself and her own needs after years of looking after someone else’s didn’t make her a bad person. She needed to hear all the things Ashley was thinking…
…But was unwilling to say.
“After that we made an agreement that we couldn’t stay friends. The sexual tension was way too strong. She feels she has to stay with Madison and I have no business trying to convince her otherwise.”
“Man that’s heavy.” Aiden put an arm around Ashley’s shoulder. “But what is she going to do, stay with Madison forever just because they once had a life together? That’s not fair to either one of them.”
“I realize that, Aiden.” Ashley began to pace suddenly feeling claustrophobic. “But I can’t tell her that.”
“Because I’m a little biased on the subject. Me telling Spencer that she should leave Madison is clearly for my own person and very selfish reasons. It wouldn’t be coming from and honest place.”
“Do you care for her?”
“Aiden, that’s not the point–”
“More than anything.”
“Then it doesn’t get any more honest than that.”
Ashley rubbed her temples. “I care about her so much that I won’t be another burden. I refuse to make her choose. She has her mind made up. Spencer wants to remain loyal to Madison and their son. That’s what makes me love her all the more…I mean like.”
“I think you’re both being stupid.”
“Yeah well, your opinion doesn’t matter, so shush,” she smiled.
“I wonder if it would matter if I pulled that towel off?”
“You wish.” She helped him to his feet before pushing him toward the door.
He went willingly saying, “As a matter of fact I do.”
“Ew, by the way. How ‘bout you um, shower.”
“Are you trying to say I stink?” He took a sniff under his arms.
“I’m not trying to say that. Now go do all that girly stuff you do to yourself to look pretty. After the show we’re partying. My best friend is in town and I have a lot to forget about.”
“Cool. I’ll meet you down the hall.” He quickly made his way to the shower, leaving his clothes wherever they fell. “I have someone I need to talk to first.”
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