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April 9, 2010 (23)
I felt horrible. The little speech Cole had given me before he’d left had really gotten to me. I knew that most of it was true. I knew that Cole really was the person that I depended on. He was my rock, my safety net in case I was feeling lonely. It felt secure to know that I had him whenever I needed him. I knew that this was all he’d ever been for me. I also knew that he probably did love me more than Ash or Will did. He was completely right about all of that.
However, he was very wrong about Will. He was wrong when he said that Will was going to start hitting me again. That was one thing I knew for sure. It wasn’t Will’s fault that he had bipolar depression. It wasn’t his fault that Michael screwed his brain up with all of the cruel things he’d done to him over the years. It wasn’t his fault that I kept on arguing with him, even though he’d been right the entire time. And it wasn’t his fault that he’d accidentally snapped and hit me either.
It didn’t make what he did a good thing, but it did make it acceptable. He was unable to control his anger because of the mental disorder he was suffering from. But that would no longer be a problem because he was now seeking treatment. And I was so proud of him for that. It took a lot of courage for him to turn himself into the police like that. I couldn’t help but think that he might’ve done it for me. Maybe he realized that in order to be with me, he needed to get help.
My heart warmed just thinking about it. It was pretty great knowing that Will loved me enough to turn himself into the police and get psychiatric treatment. It had to have been a difficult thing for him to do. Opening up like that to a complete stranger, letting him analyze you like that…it couldn’t have been easy.
I sighed as I thought about what Will’s reaction would be when I showed up one month from now, letting him know that I wanted to get back together with him. I knew that after that, things would be great. Maybe he could even find an apartment out here by me. Yeah, that was a great idea. Then we could be closer than ever.
A knock at the door of the apartment startled me out of my daydreaming. I stood up from the couch and headed over to answer it.
“Hi,” Ashton said to me when I opened the door.
My breath caught in my throat when I first saw him. He wasn’t wearing his glasses today, which made him look even more like Ash. It took a moment for me to finally catch my breath again. Then I responded, “Hey,”
“Can I come in?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure,” I replied, stepping aside to let him in. I shut the door behind him and quickly composed myself before turning around to face him.
“Is Addison home?” he said.
“Yeah, hang on, I’ll go get her.” I told him. I walked down the tiny hallway to Addison’s bedroom and knocked on the door. “Addison? Ashton’s here,”
“Could you tell him to hold on a second? I just got out of the shower,” she called back to me through the closed door.
“Sure,” I replied, feeling butterflies in my stomach. I really hoped Addison would be quick. Because until she was done getting ready, it would just be me and Ashton. “She’ll be out in a second,” I told Ashton when I walked back out into the living room.
“Ok,” he replied. We both just stood there for a moment in an awkward silence. Until he finally spoke. “So how long ago did Ash pass away?” he asked me, trying to sound all casual about it. I knew he wasn’t just making small talk though. I knew there was a reason that he wanted to know all of this stuff about Ash. There had to be.
“August 3rd, last year,” I informed him, my memory flashing back to when I’d first found out. I sucked in a deep breath and tried to clear that thought from my mind. “So why are you so interested in Ash?”
“I guess I’m just sort of curious. Since I’m going to be working with the military and all,” he said. I didn’t believe a single word of it though.
“Come on,” I said to him. “We both know that’s not true.”
“What do you mean?” he replied.
I scanned my mind for a way to prove to him that he was lying. To prove that he did in fact know who Ash was. And then an idea popped into my head. “When’s your birthday?” I asked him.
“January 7th, why?” he said, sounding confused.
“Ash’s birthday is January 7th,” I told him. This was proof that something was up. This was proof that he was really Ash. “So you look like Ash, you’re names sound alike, you both do work with the military and you were born on the same exact day. I find that a little strange, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” he agreed, beginning to look a bit uneasy. “But I still don’t get where you’re going with all of this.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know that Ash isn’t just some stranger to you. You know who he is and I want to know how. Is it because you really are Ash?” I asked him.
“Ok, that’s just crazy.” he remarked.
“It might be crazy, but it might also be true. I just have to know. And if you are Ash, then don’t lie to me. You don’t have to lie to me. You can trust me. I’m your wife.”
His eyes grew wide and he looked at me as if I were speaking some foreign language. “No, you’re not, because I’m not Ash!” he snapped back. “I’m in love with Addison.”
“Don’t do this, Ash. Please, don’t do this to me. I love you.” I begged him. Now I was beyond questioning whether or not he was really Ash. I knew he was. He had to be.
“I’m not Ash! I’m Ashton. And stop saying that you love me. Life has been really difficult for me lately. Both of my parents are dead, I made it into college on a scholarship and I’m barely able to pay the bills right now. Addison’s the best thing that ever happened to me and I can’t afford to lose her. So please don’t mess things up by going around and saying that you love me. You don’t even know me.”
I looked up at him, trying to believe what he’d just told me. But I couldn’t. When I looked at him, I saw Ash. How could I believe that he was Ashton when he so clearly wasn’t? “Prove it.” I said to him. “Prove to me that you aren’t really Ash and then I’ll believe you.”
He sighed deeply as he glanced down at his shoes, looking hesitant. Then finally, he lifted his head back up to look at me. He opened his mouth, ready to speak. He was about to tell me the truth. I could sense it. But before he had the chance to get any words out, Addison walked into the room.
“Hey, guys!” she said brightly. I groaned under my breath, feeling beyond frustrated.
“Hey, baby,” Ashton greeted her, a smile spreading across his mouth. He wrapped his muscular arms around her waste and planted a soft, delicate kiss on her glossy lips.
I sighed as they pulled apart, wishing that Addison could’ve walked in just a minute later than she had. I’d been so close to finding out the truth. But who said he couldn’t say it in front of Addison too? Was it really that big of a secret that he couldn’t say it in front of the supposed love of his life?
“So Ashton, weren’t you just about to tell me something?” I spoke up, determined to get the truth out of him.
Addison turned to face her boyfriend, a questioning look in her green eyes. “What were you about to tell her, Ashton?”
“Actually, I forgot.” he said. I wanted to smack him for lying to me like that. “Sorry, I’ll have to get back to you about that, Evalynne.”
I gritted my teeth together, completely aggravated with him by that point. “No problem,” I muttered back to him.
“So anyways,” he began, turning to look at Addison, “I came here because there’s this guy that just got a job at the diner yesterday. His name’s Ben and he’s pretty cool. He just moved here from Wisconsin with his girlfriend, Angie, so I agreed to show him around town today. I was just wondering if you wanted to come with.”
“Sure,” she said. “Do you want to come with too, Evalynne?”
“No, it’s fine,” I replied. I didn’t want to intrude on them or anything.
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” she added with a grin. I glanced at Ashton, who had a bitter look in his eyes. He obviously didn’t like me very much. In a way, I kind of wished he wasn’t Ash. Because if he was, then that meant that my own husband now hated me.
“If you insist,” I finally agreed. And so we slipped on our shoes and jackets and headed outside with Ashton.
We pulled up in front of a place called Mimi’s Diner. This was where Ashton and Ben worked. It was also where we were supposed to meet up with Ben and Angie.
All three of us walked into the diner and Ashton looked around, scanning the room for Ben. Until finally his eyes lit up with recognition and he made his way over to a table in the back corner of the restaurant. Addison and I followed closely behind him.
“Hey,” he greeted the couple sitting in the booth. Both of their heads turned to look at who had just spoken and as soon as they did, my heart stopped. My eyes went wide. A cold film of sweat gave my skin an icy hot sensation. And pure terror twisted my stomach into knots.
The man sitting in the booth was not Ben. It was Michael.
Author's Note: I just created a Youtube channel so that I can post videos based off of this series. I have 3 videos posted so far, but more will be coming soon. Check it out if you wanna. My username is LexiWrites (: