A/N: Usual disclaimer applies. This story is now AU, but after I read it again just now, I figured that it needed to continue. It will remain AU until I decide that I need to update the whole thing.

I know that it has been long since I updated and for that, I am sorry. I have had my freshman year at college, several computer crashes, 3 jobs, dog shows, new computer, moving into the apartment, etc. Hopefully things will die down right now and I will be able to start it back up again. I hope you enjoy this chapter.

Chapter 23: Hi Dad

Ashley and Severus had packed up the car for their trip to her father's house. It was Friday morning and she promised her father that they would be there by noon. Ashley moaned and complained to Severus about how he would still be working and that it was pointless for them to be there a full 5 hours before he would even get home.

Finally, about 10am Severus, Ashley, and Mars, much to Severus' disgust, left for Rocky Mount, North Carolina, again. Severus could tell that Ashley was very tense while she was driving down the interstate. "What's wrong? You don't seem as relaxed as usual."

"I always have fun at his house during Christmas, but I just can't stand being around my dad and my step-mom. My dad is fine alone, get him with his woman and things change. I hate it. I think my brother feels the same way too. I still haven't told him the whole truth about her though."

"What about her? What haven't you told your brother, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Oh, she and my dad were having an affair while my parents were still married. She was married at the time too. I have never told my brother that. I think that he has had a feeling but I never confirmed openly to him."

"How did you find out?"

"Well she really isn't that bright and started talking about when they were first together and it didn't add up. She was with him when I was eight, my parents didn't split up until I was ten. I knew then that something was up. Please don't mention it to my brother, I don't know how he will react."

"I won't, you and trust me about that, I promise." Ashley continued driving but she relaxed majorly.

They pulled into a circle drive, next to a small cape cod style house. Ashley's face lit up the instant they pulled into the drive. Severus tensed but noticed that there were hardly any people around, compared to their last encounter with her family. Ashley grabbed Mars and her bag while Severus got everything else out.

They walked up the narrow path to a side door, which was left unlocked. Ashley stepped confidently inside, "Hey, anybody here!" A woman, with long bleach blonde hair came walking toward them. She smiled at Ashley then looked at Severus. Ashley gave her a rather forced hug, the woman whispered in Ashley's ear, "You dad's going to question him." Ashley introduced Severus to the woman, which he soon found out that her name is Theresa.

Ashley let Mars off of his leash, which he quickly found the family cat. Mars found out soon enough that Milly did not want to play with him. Ashley deposited her things in the side bedroom and she told Severus to go ahead and put his stuff there too. "It might change, it all depends on if my dad is in a good mood tonight."

After a couple of hours, Ashley's dad came home from work. Severus saw him from the corner of his eye and instantly thought that he was a dead man. Ashley's father stood a couple of inches taller than him but looked like somebody who could squish him easily. Ashley gave the man a big hug. "Dad, this is Severus. Severus, this is my dad, Rick."

They shook hands and stood at a slightly combative stance as Ashley's father's voice dropped an octave. "Nice to meet you." Severus nodded, while Ashley just fought back a laugh.

Ashley's brother, Blake, and his family arrived later that night. Ashley seemed at ease with her niece and nephew. Severus however, was a different story. James, who is 3, tried climbing in his lap. Severus arched an eyebrow at Ashley, who promptly took the squirming child off. "James, come sit over here, little man, and I'll tell you about the time your brother and I made Milly fly."

The later it got, the more Ashley and Severus started inching towards the bedroom. Finally, at 10 o'clock, Severus went into the side bedroom and fell asleep. Ashley tried to follow him in there after a half an hour. She was cornered by her father. "Ashley, I know that you are an adult now, and I trust your judgement most of the time, but I don't want you sleep with him in my house."

"Well dad, I am an adult now, as you so nicely put it. So, I can make up my own mind as to who I am going to sleep with. I choose him, so good night." Ashley turned quickly into the side bedroom and locked the door.

Severus jerked up from the bed. "I knew that you would find a way in here. Nice speech you gave him, by the way."

Ashley smiled at him and crawled into bed next him. "Yes I did and thanks." With that, she turned into him and fell asleep.