Ash came with his few boxes of belongings the very next day. Which was lucky, since it did not give Emma any time to change her mind. Not that she had any energy left over for that as it was, since the constant nausea had come back in full force and caused her to feel like she needed to pray to the porslin-God 24/7. She was not sure what so ever this would be a good idea at all. But truth be told, she was secretly relieved that she had gotten someone else to help with the chores around the house and more importantly: To increase the total income. As for Ash, well he was not bad looking, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. Although she did only look at him as a freind right now, who knew – maybe one day things would change? Stranger things had happened.
After unpacking in one of the guestrooms Ash decided to go all in and earn his stay at Emma’s place. The first he decided to do was to clean up a bit. Which was indeed necessary, he would find dirty dishes all over the place!
After that he continued in the kitchen, making a fresh sallad for them both to share, as he knew that Em had a hard time keeping anything but raw food down right now.
And thus the play-house-make-believe between them started. They lived under the same roof, shared the same food, but not the same bed. For anyone passing by outside a dark November eve it would look as any other young suburban couple, and behind the walls a solid freindship based on routine and a silent agreement not to ruin anything started slowly to build.
For Ash it was his daily long distance joggings that kept him sane. It was then, during a few preacious hours he could let his guard down and stop pretending. When his feet was rythmically moving over the pavement he could be himself: A man in love, who would do anything to be at his loved ones side.
As D-day approached for Emma she grew bigger and bigger. She tried to get some solid hours of extra-work done in front of her own computor, updating her blog and coding plugins. But mostly she had to quit only after 45 minutes to go and take a leak or to get the tingling sensation out of her legs. But all small income was good income she reasoned.
Ash called her insane and tried to convince her to stay at home and not go to work on a daily basis when the delivery of her baby was fast approaching.
-What if you need to go to the hospital? he asked her in an accusing tone.
-Then I will be even closer being at the office, she countered.
-But I won’t be there?!
She managed to stop herself from saying something she knew she would regret later. But he was truly driving her insane! Little did he suspect that it was to get rid of his pampering and hovering over her all day like a momma-bird over her unhatched eggs so she did not feel as she was suffocating.
Ashton felt like he had all the Worlds burdens on his shoulders. Things had not worked out as he had neither hoped nor planned for. How could he have been so naive to believe that once inside he would be able to change Em’s feelings towards him? Of course, he was not totally dropped behind a wagon. Somewhere deep down he had known that Em’s love was a Questing Beast and he was Pellionore chasing after the impossible But he could not help himself from trying none the less. How could he?
For him it had been love at first sight when she first walked in at the internet-cafe´he was working extra at as bartender. She had walked in there and instantly lighted up the room, just as some people do without thinking of it. Her glittering eyes and cheerful laughter had made his evening-shifts so much more enjoyable. Not to mention her brain and sassy-ness behind the keyboard. A girl with skill in any area dominated by men, that refused to cave into the preconcieved notions of the society around her. She did her own thing and she did it well! All of a sudden he had found himself taking more and more shifts behind the bar, way more than he intended to start with, just to get a glimpse of her.
As a warm well-meaning (but desperate) gesture Ash decided to invite Em to a quiet cabin-weekend just the 3 of them. Since things had started to become chilly and uncomfortable around at the house he was hoping that some days away from everything would make things slightly warmer. Unfortunately his well-intended offer had the opposite effect. As the days passed Emma became more and more irritated and could snap at the slightest remark from him.
-For PlumBobs sake, get out of my hair will you!
Later that same evening Emma felt like enough was enough. Wherever she went, he was there and she could not find space enough to breath:
–Stop smothering me! Get out of my way!
-Em, I just want you to be well, for both of you to be well. He pointed at her now almost gigantic belly-
-I can take care of myself thank you very much. I managed to do so before and I will do it again if necessary!
-Stop butting in all the time. You are NOT my boyfreind and I doubt you will ever be anything even close to that! She could see how much her words had hurt his feelings, and she almost regretted saying them. At the same time it felt so good to having had the opportunity to ventilate some of her emotions and frustrations that she had had bottled up inside her for so long.
-Well, who said I wanted to be anyway? His words came fast as vipers sting and he did not give her time to react as he stormed passed her and into their cabin and slammed the door shut behind her.
-Fine! Have it like that if you like it you stubborn PlumbBob! she shouted and turned on her heals, but she was not sure he heard her and she did not understand why tears were welling up in her eyes or why she all of a sudden felt such a panging loss in her heart.