Friday, August 20, 2010

0 1.5 The Ride Back Home

Ashton was making §44/hour as a Test subject but after several weeks of good performance, she was promoted to Fertilizer Analyst with §97/hour pay.

She's now contributing for the community in finding ways to improve crops. And instead of just doing experiments in the lab, Ashton also tried the fertilizer samples on her garden plants; which had been a wise choice because they were maturing greatly.

She went to the groceries first thing after work the next day to sell her produces. Ashton made a hefty §354 sum from just a few fruits! People were paying handsomely for fresher and excellent quality produce.

Her boss saw how proactive she was and raised her hourly pay to §106 for the effort. Ashton got really happy and announced her step up the career ladder to the first person she bumped into.

Cyclone congratulated her and suggested they should celebrate by going for dinner.

"How does tomorrow night sound?" he asked. "My treat. - Plus, I wanna ask your opinion about this book I'm working on."

"That would be really nice," Ashton agreed. "Tomorrow night sounds just right."

And as they were chatting, along came a bulky guy.

"You know what, I can't tolerate that. He got no respect for people," Cyclone growled a moment too soon. "Imma go beat him up ta' pieces."

"Cyclone, wait! You can't be serious?" she tried to stop him, quite surprised with his sudden mood change.

"Gotta go, girl," he dashed off, waving his hand. "I'll see you tomorrow!"

What a strange guy, Ashton sighed, feeling amused at the same time. He kept calling me girl. Does he even remember my name?

Edward left work early today. He came around to meet Ashton and they had a walk around the park, just talking and holding hands till it was dark. The moonlight made the moment more romantic for them.

"I really like you, Ashton," he said for the nth time already. "I'm really am happy to be with you."

"I feel the same way, Edward," she sheepishly replied.

"I can't wait to build a family with you," he admitted, gazing into her eyes as they held each others hands.

"Really?" as surreal as it may sound, that's exactly what Ashton would want for Vanglorious.

"Of course, dear," he whispered to her sweetly. "You can sell that huge land of yours and we'll live in the suburbs, just you and I. I'll perform in grand halls all around the world, with you by my side."

"Excuse me?" Ashton frowned.

"Don't worry. We'll talk about kids later," he continued, knowing how she really wanted to have a big family. "Its you and I that matters now."

He then leaned forward to kiss her.

"Edward, no," she released her hands from his hold and took a step back. A grimaced expression on her face. "I don't think you understand the gravity of me staying here."

"Whats the matter, dear? Home is where the family is; no matter where we are, isn't that right?" he was getting confused with her reaction. "Whats wrong?"

"This! Is whats wrong!" she pointed at the both of them. Her heart is shaking. "I... I can't... (she sighed heavily). We both have different views on what family is. I thought you understand my feelings all these whiles."

"I do, Ashton, I really do," he didn't stop for a moment just so he could convince her. "Like I said, home is wherever the family is together. As long as we're together, you'll always have your family with you. Don't you get that?"

Ashton had enough. Its no use arguing more further. Not with the differences of what they believe in.

Edward never understood the importance of a family as she sees it. All these whiles? Never at all. And because he didn't go through what she had. He never will understand that. Ever.

"And like I said," her expression turned stoic. "I don't think you understand the gravity of me. Staying. Here."

Edward frowned in disbelief.

"Goodbye, Edward," she walked away, not turning back.

After Ashton got into a taxi, Edward went Houdini. She never saw him again since.


It was a long way back home. She kept her stare on the trees by the road as she went pass each of them; blurred ghastly figures in the dark of the night.

Finally in the vicinity of her neighborhood, her ride passed the Alto Mansion. Grand. Covered in lights coming from each and every one of it's windows. In the upper storey, she caught glimpses of Alto family members. She can't see what their expressions were, neither does she know whats playing in their thoughts.

What she know is, there's a whole family in that house. And she wonders if she could ever grasp that feeling once again, of having a house filled with people she can call family.

It saddened her that she forgot how the comfort and warmth felt like. How could she build a family, barely knowing how it all should feel?

She has no answer for that.

For the first time after she was discharged from the Institute, Ashton cried herself to sleep. The burden of the Vanglorious was so heavy for her to carry alone.

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