Friday, September 3, 2010

0 1.12 Samaritan

The first thing Ashton did when she wakes up the next morning was to salvage all of the Thelma Aria info and news from four years ago.

From how Cyclone put it, she suspects Connor might have something related to the incident just like herself. She began to search for the list of survivors. And even though most names were disclosed and had limited records, Ashton was smart enough to narrow down her search to only teen males which resulted in 12 people.

Unfortunately, none of them had the last name Frio, and this brought more questions in her head. Who is Connor Frio and how is he connected to Thelma? By now, Ashton thought she might have misheard the things that Cyclone said to her. And the more she tells herself that, the more her brain churns for more alternatives to the story.

Maybe Connor was searching for her because she was the last of Vanglorious and that he wanted to interview her for the papers or something. But then four years ago, Connor was just 18. Probably 19.

He can't be working for the papers at that age. Was he? Speculations takes her nowhere. She can't piece the puzzle without all the pieces missing. So Ashton got up, and got out of the house. Going wherever she felt like going.

While waiting for the cab to fetch her, she thought of calling Connor but immediately hung up before the call was connected. She feared she wouldn't know what to say to him.

She felt what they had was beautiful but to be bothered by something kept in the dark was enough to mess up everything. She thought she'd stall the end for a while.

Just sitting in the cab and looking out the window helped her cleared her mind a little bit. She stared out at each of the houses she passed by, and thought about how she wanted to build her house; making mental notes of the designs she liked.

She finds herself smiling. At least, it made her felt better.

When the cab arrived town, Ashton got out and headed for the bookstore.

She finds no interesting reads, including the bestsellers that were fabulously arranged on the Hot Picks shelves. As she made her way out, her eyes caught the new issue of Creators magazine called Pop & Soda. Ashton grabbed a copy and went to the gym.

She hadn't been in the gym's lounge for quite some time now. She can't remember when was the last time she's been up here. She remembered coming to the gym but not the lounge. And recalling her recent visits to gym, she only remembered getting Connor's phone calls.

She shook her thoughts, not wanting to remember anything about him and flipped the pages, skimming through the skincare ads furiously before slowing down at some articles.

For once, she was enjoying the contents of her new entertainment until she came across a familiar face sprawled on a quarter of the page.

What is he doing here? He doesn't work for Pop & Soda.

As she read on, it was an interview with the owner of the glasses line. There was no mention of Cyclone whatsoever and it seems like he was being a model for the product. She can't imagine how he could juggle his work and be a model at the same time.

Then again, she doesn't want to think about him. Ashton closed the mag. Annoyed.

She walked around town, window shopped, and greeted other townies. Anything to take her mind off her disturbed thoughts.

Ashton also met an elderly lady who was so nice enough to strike up a conversation as if they had been old friends. The lady mentioned a whole lot about gardening, which interests Ashton because she's currently working on fertilizers. She might learn a thing or two about local remedies.

The chat went on pretty well until...

"Anyway, what's a girl like you doing out here all alone?" the lady asked. "You're very pretty. But remember, beauty don't last forever. So you got to marry someone while you still can. -

- Unlike me..." the lady continued without a hint of self pity.

Ashton would have gotten cross at the earlier remarks but she quickly felt sorry for the lady's fate. Will she be like the lady? Tending gardens instead of a family of her own?

Ashton felt her heart softening.

She had been very angry about many things throughout the day that she took the little things for granted. Time passes very quickly for those who dwell and wallow in the past. Ashton herself was an example for that. She wasted four years behind white walls, wallowing in grief and denial.

It's not something she wants to go through again. So she promised herself to face life with an open arm regardless of whatever the obstacles, doubts and consequences might be.

Ashton then asked if the lady would like to have dinner with her. Martha gladly accepts.


After the dinner with Martha. Ashton finally got the courage to call Connor. He mentioned before that he'd be back today no matter how late it gets, so she wanted to at least find out if he managed so.

"Hello," she said when he picked up. "Connor?"

"Hello, Ashton," he replied. "I was just about to give you a call."

"Where are you now?" she asked.

"I've actually arrived Sunset already," he was beaming, she could hear him. "It'll take around 15minutes to get to your place. Is it okay if I visit you now?"

By the sound of his voice, Ashton deduced that he didn't know about her confrontation with Cyclone. She guessed Cyclone didn't get to him about that. She was somehow relieved.

"I'm actually out now," she told him.

"Oh," somehow, he felt being turned down.

"I'm right here in Central Park," she continued. "I'll wait for you here. Is that okay?"

He heaved a sigh. "For a moment there, I thought you didn't want to see me."

"Of course, I do," she managed to laugh. She was glad to know that everything was just like the last time he called. Connor was still the same.

She felt bad for ever having to doubt him, "Why wouldn't I?"

Connor said something, but his voice was muffled. It was more like he was talking to somebody else who was with him; with the phone at a distance. - Sort of... I hope.

"Connor?" she called into the phone after a while of noisy background at his line.

"I'm here," his deep voice rang in her ears, as well as from behind her.

Ashton turned around.

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