"She's been busy. Some are of her, most aren't. They're of my aunt and baby cousins," Ash said referring back to telling everyone Jes was his cousin. "What are you going to do? There's still an hour and a half left before its time for the gallery to actually open."
"I have a lot of paperwork to do," his boss replied. "I've had a vast amount of people writing to me to ask when the next sale of your art is going to be, so I'll have to respond to them. Let me know when you're ready to do a sale. And make sure you bring your girlfriend, cousins and aunt. People like to see the subjects behind the photographs."
Ash nodded and made his way to the dark room to developed his photos. Once done he went to the room he showed Lucy to down load his photos onto the computer. He stayed in the gallery all day.
Lucy spent the rest of the day at her brother's house. She had been looking forward to seeing him, and telling him that she was now dating Ash. He seemed pleased for her, if a little protective.
Ash decided that he done spent enough time at the gallery. The new pictures were chosen and ready to be hug up in the gallery ... so, he'll probably do that sometime within the next day or so. He started to head home when his phone rang. "Hello?" he answered. "Hey Ashy, I just wanted to see how things were going," said Jes on the other line. "They're going fine. I have some new pictures going up in the gallery soon, so you and the family should come to the next gallery viewing." "Will there be more people looking to hire you?" Jes asked tentatively. "Yeah Jes. I want you to be here ... you and Asia and Aunt Tia too." Silence followed before Jes said 'okay' and then hung up. Ash made his way to his dorm hoping to catch some sleep ...
When Lucy returned to her dorm that evening she got into bed straight away. It was only after she had stared at the ceiling for a while, trying to sleep, that she sat up and turned her lamp on. She picked up the photo of her, her brother and her adoptive parents and opened the back of the frame and out fell the picture of her with her real mother. She stared at the image, tracing the faces with her fingertips. Suddenly, she felt very lonely. She took her phone and texted Ash, sure he wouldn't get it until the morning. Hope the gallery was alright. Missing you.
Ash was out. He barely managed to get changed before he fell asleep. He felt his phone vibrate but he was too far gone into sleep that he couldn't get up to get it.
The next morning Lucy awoke drenched in sweat and tangled in her sheets. Her heart was racing and she knew then that the nightmares were back. The old scar on her shoulder tingled and she buried her head under the sheets.
Ash woke with a bad feeling in his stomach, heart, mind and soul. Something wasn't right. He grabbed his phone and texted Lucy, "You Okay?"
Lucy felt for her phone when she heard the ringtone she had assigned to Ash's number. Groggily, she pressed the button to answer the call and held the phone up to her ear. "Ash..." she mumbled.
"Morning beautiful..." he said quietly. "Is everything okay? Are you okay?" He had a bad feeling and he couldn't pinpoint it.
Lucy felt tears rise to her throat before she could stop them. "My nightmares are back," she choked out, knowing that Ash would understand.
Ash closed his eyes and breathed slowly. Lucy having nightmares is not good. Hers tend to be worse. "I'll be over in a few." With that he hung up and began getting dressed.
Lucy took deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself. Ash would be there in a minute. Ash would make it better. She repeated these phrases in her head like a mantra, willing the fear to go away.
Ash rushed over to Lucy's and hastily knocked on the door. Everything will be okay ... hopefully. He still has a bad feeling in his stomach.
Lucy got up unsteadily and walked over to the door. She rested her head against the frame for a moment, trying to compose herself. It would be stupid to make Ash worry. Then she opened the door, a false smile on her face.
When the door opened, Ash pulled Lucy to him, somehow maneuvering them so they were both in her room and the door was shut. "Get rid of the fake smile already," he whispered to her.
Somehow, Ash's kindness set her off crying again. She crumpled into him, her head buried in his chest, and began to sob quietly. "I'm sorry," she sniffled.
He rubbed her back and let her cry. "It's alright Lucy, nothing to apologize for."