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EC+AM=4ever Chapter 38 Part 1
July 5, 2009
It was my birthday. Two days after the fourth of July, six days after Cole left to go back to Michigan, sixteen days before Ash leaves to go to war. Fourteen days before I marry Ash.
It seemed as if everything had just happened so fast. It seemed like just yesterday, I was staring out my window as Ash took his shirt off. That just the other day, he’d carved our initials into that tree, our tree. That the day before, I’d met Cole and almost gotten arrested for breaking and entering. That just yesterday, I’d been almost positive that I was in love with Cole, that I’d been in bed with him at a hotel, that Ash had punched his face in, that I’d dumped Ash.
And now, I was in love with Ash yet again.
I wasn’t having a party or anything. After all that had happened, I really didn’t want one. But Ash had come over and my mom made a cake. When I told my parents that I was for sure going to marry Ash, they weren’t very happy. My mom explained to me how much commitment it took for a marriage to last and how risky it was to rush into a marriage, especially at such a young age. I explained to her that I already knew all of this, but this is what Ash wanted before her left for Iraq. This is the one thing that would make him happy.
And I was determined to give it to him.
It was the least I could do after almost killing his mom and leaving her in a coma along with Alzheimer’s disease. His mom was like, forty-eight, not eighty-four! She shouldn’t have Alzheimer’s disease.
But she did. Because of me. Therefore, I would marry Ash, dedicate myself to him. But I wasn’t only doing it out of guilt. I loved him just as much as he loved me. But I was still scared. Was marriage really what I wanted? No. But it was what Ash wanted. This was the one and only thing I could give him in return for his forgiveness and understanding.
Yes, I still thought about Cole day in and day out. Yes, I missed him dearly. Yes, the guilt of leaving him heartbroken was eating away at me. Yes, I loved him.
But that wasn’t going to stop me from carrying on with my relationship with Ash. Ash deserved to be happy. And I would do anything to keep him happy. Even if that meant marrying him.
“That cake was fantastic, Mrs. Carter.” Ash complimented, licking his lips in satisfaction.
She smiled with gratitude, “Thank you. And you don’t have to call me Mrs. Carter now either.
“Well what do you want him to call you?” Dad demanded. “Mom?” He still didn’t approve of what Ash and I were doing. He thought that it was way too soon for us to get married, but Mom talked him into it. So now he unwillingly was going to be watching his little girl marry a guy he still didn’t really like in two weeks.
Mom plastered on a fake, nervous smile, as if what he said was just a joke. “Richard, I never insisted that. And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t use such a harsh tone.” she replied.
“Well I’d appreciate it if this tool didn’t play with my daughter’s emotions. I’d appreciate it if he had a little respect for my daughter. But he obviously didn’t take any of what I thought into consideration.” Now Dad’s face was red and his fists were clenched.
“Dad, stop it right now!” I commanded, blushing. “Sorry,” I murmured to Ash.
He grinned warmly, “It’s ok.”
“You don’t need to apologize to him!” Dad shouted. “He should be the one apologizing to you!”
I was being embarrassed beyond belief. “Dad, I’m eighteen now. I think I’m capable of making my own decisions. And if I want to marry Ash, then I’m going to. So stop acting so hostile towards him.”
“No, you’re not. If you were capable of making your own decisions, you would still be with that guy, Cole. I liked him. He never hurt you, never pressured you, took it slow. You should have stayed with him.”
Now I saw the rage building up in Ash’s eyes. I knew he didn’t like Cole. After what happened at the beach in Boston…well that was the last straw for Ash.
“You think Cole took it slow?” Ash scoffed.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.” Dad remarked smugly.
“Do you remember the time that Evalynne told you she was sleeping over at Kristy’s house, about two weeks ago?” he demanded.
Oh no. He couldn’t.
“Yeah, I remember.” Dad said.
“Well that’s not really where she was. Cole convinced her to go spend the night with him at a hotel in Boston. And while they were at that hotel, he got into bed with her. He began to make out with your daughter and stuck his hand up her shirt. If it wasn’t for me, he probably would have gone even farther than that.”
I felt my entire face go beet red with humiliation. Mom’s eyes widened in shock and her mouth dropped open. Dad on the other hand, just sat there, his eyes full of disbelief.