Chapter 4

Ashley woke up freezing cold, and stiff. The sun was just rising over the tall trees at the back of her garden, and were beginning to blind her. Climbing off the sofa and stretching out, she climbed back down into her bedroom. Going into her bathroom, she flicked the heater on and slipped out of her damp dressing gown and pyjamas and stepped in the shower which was soon steaming.

Fifteen minutes later she flicked the shower off, and wrapping herself in a towel, made her way to the large walk-in wardrobe on the other side of her bedroom. Choosing a knee length floral skirt and comfy blouse she dressed, grabbing a scarf she headed back to the bathroom to put on some light make up and dry her hair. She again hoped her mum would tell her dad so she wouldn't have to.

“Mum's reaction was OK,” she said to herself under the noise of the hair dresser, “but I have no idea how dad will react.” Switching off her hair-drier, she retrieved her phone from the pocket of her dressing gown and switched it on. She had three messages. One from Brett. Two from Lalia, one of her best friends, asking if she wanted to hang out in town that afternoon. She replied that she would, and then headed downstairs to grab something to eat.

Sitting on the sofa in the living room, Ash curled her knees up under her skirt and sipped on a milkshake. It suddenly dawned on her that she hadn't felt sick this morning.

“Thank you Lord!” she whispered, and then flicked the TV onto her favourite music channel, and rested her head on one of the large cushions that lined the sofa.

She was woken by voices in the kitchen, the TV had been turned down. She could hear her dads voice.

“What on earth? WHAT ON EARTH”

“Calm down honey,” said her mum trying to calm her husband down, “Shouting wont do any good.”

“Sorry, but what are we going to do with her. Its a bit of a disgrace to the family, and what are the people at church going to say?”

“I don't know James, I just don't know.” Ashley heard her mum start to cry softly, and heard her dad move across the kitchen and embrace her mum. She got up and went to the kitchen door.

“I'm sorry mum, dad. Really sorry.” Said Ashley before she too broke down into another wash of tears.

“Why Ashley? Why did you have to disgrace us like this? Go against all of what we have taught you?” shouted her dad.

“I don't know dad, it seemed right at the time I didn't think...”

“NO, you never think do you? Never care what effect your actions might have on your family” her dad interrupted. Ashley began to feel angry, and through her tears shouted back at him.

“I DO care, I DO, and I'm sorry....So sorry!” at that she ran up to her room, slamming the door and collapsing onto the bed. Gradually her sobs subsided and glancing at her alarm clock she saw that is was nearly time for her to go and meet her friends. She washed her face and reapplied some light make up before heading downstairs. Her mum and dad had moved to the living room and were quietly talking with their arms around each other. Sneaking into the kitchen Ashley quickly wrote a note and left it on the work-top: Going out with friends. Be back by 7. don't bother with dinner for me. Love you and I'm sorry. Xx. She quietly went out the front door being careful to shut it softly. She decided she would enjoy herself this afternoon.

Ashley got home just before 7 like she had promised, and seeing no one, went straight up to her bedroom. She drew the curtains and put on some music. Turning on her laptop she began to chat to the friends she had only seen a few minutes before. Brett came online.

Brett: Hey Gorgeous!

Ashley knew she had to put on a brave face, she couldn't tell him yet, she just couldn't.

Ash.: Hi Stranger! :P

Brett: Hows u?

Ash.: Gud thnx babe, u?

Brett: same, but missin a v. special person

Ash.: awww...missin u 2, c u 2mo tho.

Brett: I wanna c u now tho. Put ur webcam on!? :P

Ash.: onli if u do.

They put their webcam's on. Ashley sighed as Brett's face came into view, It was so easy to forget everything.

Brett: so wubu2 then?

Ash.: Sleepin, nd shoppin u?

Brett: computer wiv ma lil bro nd his m8.

At that point there was a knock on Ashley's door.

“Who is it?” she asked.

“Mum and dad.” said her mum.

“OK. Be right there. Just gonna say bye to Brett.”

Ash.: soz hun but I g2g

Brett: aww, ok babe c u 2mo, love you xxxx

Ash.: love you too xxx.

Ashley signed out on her laptop, and went to the door. Opening it she said,

“Yeah?”

“Can we come in?” asked her dad looking serious.

“OK,” Ashley opened the door wide and her parent entered her room, going to sit on the small sofa opposite the end of her bed. Ashley closed the door and went to sit cross legged on the bed, hugging a pillow to her chest like a shield to what her parents were going to say.

The silence between them seemed to last for years. It was broken by her dad.

“We want you to put the baby up for adoption when it is born.” he said.

“WHAT?” replied Ashley in shock, “I...I can't do that!” It was then that Ashley realized how much she loved the small child growing inside her, she didn't want to loose it for anything.

“Please Ashley. It is the only option.”

“NO...NO...no...no...” her objections quietened as she began to sob into the pillow. Her mum got up and came to sit next to her on the bed.

“Its for the best, God is in control, just trust Him.” She said putting her arms around Ashley's shaking body.

“How...how can it be...for the...the best?” Ashley hiccuped through her tears, “How could He...He even let it happen in the fir...first place?” Neither of her parents answered that question. She looked up at them. Pleading with them through her eyes to reconsider, to give her a second chance at happiness. Her mum just kissed her forehead.

“We love you honey, don't forget that.” Her mum left the room, and her dad stood up.

“Come 'ere,” he said. Ashley slipped off the bed and went to him. He wrapped his strong arms around her and held her as she continued to sob. “Goodnight.” he said and letting her go. he left the room, softly shutting the door behind him. Ashley just collapsed on the bed and sobbed herself into another night of restless, dreamless sleep.

The End

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