Disclaimer: Not mine! Except for the characters you don't recognize.

Summary: After years of separation, Ashely realizes she must move on, but does she really want to?

"Everything is F'ed up straight from the heart
Tell me what do you do, when it all falls apart
Gotta pick myself up where do I start
Cuz I can't turn to you when it all falls apart..."
-The Veronicas "When It All Falls Apart"

Chapter 21: When It All Falls Apart

The moment she stepped out of her car, she rushed inside her house, not even bothering to turn the light on. It was quiet once she entered, the sound of her footsteps echoed as she ran up the stairs to her room. The double doors to the room were slightly pushed open, remembering that she forgot to shut it when she left for the Surf Spot hours ago.

It was ridiculous to even think that in a couple hours, the relationship she once treasured was now lost forever. "What the hell am I saying…he did that years ago." The room was dark as when she entered her home, with only the moonlight rays as her source of light.

Ashley was curled up on her bed, still found in her silk black tank, jeans and black stilettos, looking out the balcony window, tears threatening to fall yet again. She looked up, and squinted at the time, trying to make out what the clock on her night stand was telling her. It was a little past midnight and as she returned to her original position, she dug her face in a white fluffed pillow, sighing with aggravation. Frustration, loneliness and sadness clouded her mind and she sat up, placed her hand to support her head, and let down the walls of her heart and broke down sobbing.

Desperation crept over her and hope washed away, like autumn leaves withering away with the wind. At a moment of weakness, she wiped the tears from her face, cursing them for ever coming down, and reached for her phone. She flipped it open, the light illuminating the tired features of her face, and dialed the most unlikely of phone numbers.

"Hello?"

Ashley closed her eyes as her mind blanked at what she had to say. She knew she had no right to ask, not only would it be inappropriate, but she didn't want him to think that he was merely a pawn to relieve her loneliness.

"Ashley? Wha—what's wrong?"

She chuckled lightly. 'That's the understatement of the year'

"I…nothing it's just that," she started, remembering at the last minute how late it was. "Oh shoot, I'm so sorry Miguel…I didn't wake you…did I?"

She heard him laugh softly. "No, you didn't, it's ok. Besides, even if you did, my answer would still be 'no'."

At that response, Ashley smiled and said, "Thanks for saying that, but are you sure I didn't bother you? I feel bad as it is for calling this late…I mean, I don't even know if…"

"Do you always ramble like this when you apologize?" He laughed quietly, hearing her giggle at the other end. "You never bother me, Ash. Remember what I told you? You can…"

"…call me anytime," she finished, feeling a little flushed.

"And I meant it."

Ashley smiled and sat up, the back of her head pressing against the intricate design of her headboard and pulled her knees to her, feeling the pain inside her head subside for the first time that night. "Thank you."

Faint laughs turned into long hours of conversation, sometimes even awkward pauses of silence, yet to her, it felt effortless, like it was the most natural thing in the world. The last time she felt that way was with Andros, and as that same feeling came back to her, it became enough to get her through the last hours of the night.

"Yeah, I actually knew someone from KO-35. Well…her father was stationed there, but she decided to leave and study here." Ashley was intrigued and decided to follow along with the story, not minding that the subject of her ex-boyfriend's home planet being brought up. "So that's when we met. Her family is apparently one of the more important families there, and so when she came back, her father had…well I guess you could say 'arranged' some sort of marriage alliance."

"So you're saying she never loved the guy?"

"Well, I haven't spoken to her in a couple years, but from what I heard, she loved him, but he didn't. He was rumored to love another, but surprisingly, he went along with the arrangement."

"Are you serious? That is so…stupid. How could he do that?" she replied, surprised for even allowing herself to be swept over by a little gossip. 'What the hell…it can't hurt, I guess.'

"See that's the thing. Come time for the wedding day, he walked out. It became such an interglobal…well, I never found out what happened to him."

"That was so…depressing," she replied sarcastically. However, for some reason, a shadow of doubt crept inside her head. She wasn't sure what it was, yet there was something about the story that scrambled her thoughts. She quickly erased it from her memory, telling herself it must have been nothing. "Thanks, Mig. That really made my night…"

"Ha, you're most welcome."

"No, seriously. Thank you for trying. I know I shouldn't have even…"

"Hey, don't worry about it. I wouldn't have it any other way."

As the rising sun took the place of the radiant moon, the rays of its light switched as moonlight glow was now restored with the light waves of sunlight. Seeing her room soak up the first rays of the sun, Ashley was embarrassed and quietly said, "I can't believe you let me keep you up all night…Miguel…I…"

"Would you quit saying you're sorry? I'm not even joking, I think you've apologized to me at least ten times in six hours," he said chuckling. "Not that I'm counting, but that has to be some sort of record."

"Very funny I'll have you know that it was…" she replied only to be interrupted by the familiar sound of the doorbell waking the house. "…are you kidding?"

"What?"

"It's 6:30 in the morning and someone's at the door." She moved to the edge of the bed and slid off, making a quick trip to the bathroom, glancing at the mirror. 'Thank God for water proof mascara.'

She hurried down the stairs and turned the knob to the front door, and pulled. With her phone still in hand, she teased, "So as I was saying, I'll have you know that…"

Ashley paused, her whole body frozen in place, a smile running across her face.

"You'll have me know what?" Miguel replied phone still in hand, as he appeared at her doorstep carrying a cup tray with two large Starbucks coffee cups.

Still smiling, Ashley closed her eyes, and shook her head. Still using her phone, she said, "…that it wasn't ten. It was nine…not that I was counting."

He laughed and nodded his head as he took his phone away from his ear, seeing her do the same. "Don't worry, I just figured, after your night and I felt bad for boring you with old stories, that maybe you'd want some coffee…" She led him inside, traces of fatigue leaving her eyes, as the fresh aroma of the cool breeze enveloped inside.

She took a cup, walked forward towards him slowly, got up on her tiptoes and brushed her light glossed lips against his cheek, giving him a kiss. "Coffee sounds good." She looked down at the cup, a faded memory triggering her mind.

She woke to the sound of faint laughter downstairs, a sound that was all too familiar to her ears. She turned, hoping to feel the warmth of the body that lay with her the night before, only to find a piece of paper in its place. She sat up, and looked at the time, which told her it was nearly 10'o clock. She read the note and smiled, shaking her head as she slid off the bed, pushing the sheets off her.

She walked to the bathroom to splash water on her face and freshen up, not even bothering to change into more presentable clothes than her yellow pajama bottoms and a white tank top. She walked downstairs to find him in the kitchen, talking with who sounded like Zhane and Karone. He looked up at the sound of her footsteps and grinned as he walked to greet her. She smiled as he too was still in his red pajama bottoms and a white wife beater.

"I tried to wake you…but you wouldn't move," he teased, hearing the chuckles of Zhane and Karone in the background. Ashley playfully punched him on the arm, beaming a smile at him.

"Nice, Andros, nice," came Zhane's remark.

"I'm just kidding, Ash. You were so tired last night, I didn't have the heart to wake you," he explained, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Come on, I made hot chocolate."

Ashley looked up from the coffee cup and sighed, "I guess…coffee will do."

A/N: Soooooooooo sorry for the long delay. Thanks for all the emails, and for those who have bugged me to write. I'm actually now motivated to finish this story. And it will be done, I promise! If this chapter dragged, I'm sorry, I just had to put it in, and you'll see why later on. XOXO, MissDay