Ashley closed her locker door to find Michael, one of the school jocks. "It's going fine, thank you," she replied curtly. She knew what he was here for.
"So, I was thinking...you wanna go to the dance with me?"
"Michael, I'm sorry I can't. I already have other plans."
Michael looked a little taken back and it took him a moment to answer. "Well, ok. But don't expect any more offers from some one as popular as me," he whispered, reaching out to brush his hand against her cheek.
Ashley shoved him away and glared menacingly. He finally got the picture and walked away.
Ashley was mortified. Although it was the 5 invitation to the dance, this was the first that had tried so hard. Ashley reached up to her cheek as if she had been poisoned. Michael was the biggest jerk in the whole school. Captain of the football team, and known to have gone out with any girl he wants. Well, he just got his first turn down.
She did have plans the night of the dance...sorta. She was planning on sitting in front of her TV and watching movies. Dances were disasters, and she knew from experience...
"Oh Ashley, you look so beautiful!" her mother purred, flitting around her thirteen-year-old daughter, tucking loose strands of hair into the curls that spiraled down to her shoulders.
"Mom, please, you're embarrassing me. Josh will be here any minute!" Ashley pushed her mother's hands away and smiled at her teasingly.
"You look very pretty, sweetie," her dad commented as walked by with his newspaper.
"Thanks Daddy," Ashley beamed.
The doorbell rang and Ashley bolted for the knob, and as calmly as possible opened the heavy front door. "Hi Josh," she greeted.
Josh's eyes went wide. "Whoa, you look awesome..."
Ashley blushed and ducked her head. Her mom giggled girlishly behind her and her dad hushed her.
"My Dad's waiting, we should go," Josh announced after he had handed Ashley a single rose.
Ashley nodded and followed Josh back outside as her mom snapped twenty rolls of film. Josh held the door open for Ashley, and Ashley slipped in. Josh closed the door and walked around the other side. He got in next to her and took her hand gently.
Josh's dad turned around and smiled happily at them. "Ready?"
Josh nodded and they pulled out moving at a steady pace toward the school.
"I'm so glad you came with me, Ashley," Josh admitted quietly.
Ashley was glad that Josh couldn't see her flushed cheeks. "I'm glad you invited me."
The rest of the trip was quiet. Josh caressed her hand and Ashley drank in every emotion from the touch. She was scared, and delighted, and surprised all at the same time.
Ashley shut out the old memories before they got worse. She reached up with a shaky hand to brush the tears away. The night had gone downhill from there. They showed up at the dance and immediately went to center of the gym to dance. They stayed like that for 3 songs before Josh announced that he needed a drink. Promising to bring her back one, he left her at a small table to wait. She waited for about ten minutes before getting worried and going to find him. It took another ten minutes to find him wrapped up with the school slut underneath the bleachers outside the gym next to the football field. The sight forever plagued her mind. They had both been suspended for two weeks, and afterwards Josh had never talked to her again.
Ashley's heart was broken...Josh never even made an attempt to apologize. The next year in 9th grade she heard that Josh and the slut, Delilah, had been expelled because Delilah was pregnant. She never knew how they had ended up outside, or why Josh would ever want to hurt her so much. Maybe it was a stupid reason, but Ashley had refused to go to any dances since. She couldn't bring herself to. What's the point? Spend hours getting ready only to have your heart crushed? I won't ever let it happen again...
After watching "Pretty Woman" she stretched and went in search of some caffeine. She pooped the can of Diet Pepsi as she stepped out onto her front porch. The night was warm and pleasant. It was just beginning to get dark as the sun's last rays peaked over the horizon. Perfect for taking a walk.
She entered her house again to grab her sneakers and write a note to her parents incase they came home from their dinner outing before she got back.
She closed and locked her front door and sauntered down her driveway to the sidewalk. The park was a few blocks away, but she could already smell the beautiful flower gardens and feel the warm breeze filtering through the giant trees.
Reaching the park, she tossed her empty soda into the garbage and found her way to one of the many wooden benches. She folded one long leg underneath her and sighed contently. The night was unspoiled by any one else. All the teens in the area were most likely at the school, and most parents were taking advantage of that and going out for the night.
She smiled as a small rabbit scurried from his hiding place in the bushes to grab a sandwich crust that some one had dropped. She watched as he nibbled at it and is turned to see it was being watched. His ears went straight up and his mouth immediately stopped chewing. When Ashley slightly moved her foot, the young furry mammal bolted back into the brush.
She chuckled and continued to swing her leg back and forth until she heard a voice behind her. "Is this seat taken?"
Ashley jumped up and turned around expecting to see one of Divatox's newest creations. Instead she found Adam, the former Green Turbo Ranger. "Adam!"
"Hi Ashley, what are you doing in the park at 8:00 on a Friday night? All the kids are over at the dance or so I've heard."
"I didn't want to go," Ashley shrugged.
Adam nodded, "Oh. So, can I sit down here or are you waiting for someone?"
Ashley shook her head, "No, I'm not waiting for any one. You can sit here."
They both sat down and Ashley turned sideways a little so she could see Adam's face. He'd finally cut his hair and had lost weight. He looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Ashley nearly groaned aloud, she couldn't believe she'd just thought that.
Adam stretched his long legs out in front of him and Ashley could see his muscles bulge from his T-shirt. She gulped. She couldn't believe what was happening. She'd never looked at boy like this. Well, not since 8th grade, anyway.
"So, what's going on in your life?" He asked casually, grinning at her.
Ashley could have melted. She opened her mouth urging something to come out. Finally it did just not exactly what she wanted. "Your hair looks really good..."
Adam's eyes went wide and then he chuckled. Ashley on the other hand, had never been more embarrassed in her entire life.
"Well, your hair looks really good, too." He said with a smile.
Ashley commanded the fluttering in her stomach to go away. "What brings you back to Angel Grove?"
"I'm starting a do-jo. Tommy will be here in a couple of weeks to help be get it off the ground. He's been working in San Diego with his own. And you know what? Tommy and Kat are getting married in December."
"Really? That's so cool," then she just put her foot farther into her mouth, "What's going on with Tanya?"
He was quiet for a second, as if wondering how to answer, and Ashley bit her lip in worry. You've never done this before. Why now? He's just a guy.
"Tanya and I broke up a few months ago. It wasn't going to work out between us, so we talked about it and decided it would be better to let it go. She's very happy now with Rocky, anyway."
"Do you have a girlfriend?" Ashley closed her eyes. Strike three, Hammond, you're out.
Adam let out a low laugh. "No, as of now, I don't."
Ashley nodded, "Oh."
"Can I ask why you didn't want to go to the dance?"
"I've...just had some bad experiences with them."
Adam didn't pursue it anymore, and Ashley was relieved.
"How goes the Power Rangers?" He asked after a few moments of silence.
"Everything is going good right now. Divatox is a pain in the butt, as usual, but we haven't had anything really hard lately, she's been preoccupied, I think, and I don't like it."
"You gotta watch out for her. You never know when she's gonna show up. Out of all of them, she was the best at surprises. How's Justin?"
"He's been stressed out lately with school, but he's been in a lot better mood lately because a girl in 9th grade asked him to the dance."
Adam laughed. "I bet he his. Poor guy, almost 13 and the hormones are raging."
His aren't the only ones. Ashley was absolutely thrilled that _that_ one had stayed in her mind.
"Hey, Ashley, do you want to walk around? My legs are aching to get up."
"Sure, I'd love too."
They both got to their feet, and Adam waited as Ashley brushed the back of her yellow T-shirt off.
"That's what I get. Dirty old benches."
"Yeah, and you have a leaf tucked in your hair," Adam explained, reaching up with a gentle hand to pull it away. His warm hand brushed against Ashley's cheek and her stomach jumped into her throat.
And to think just a few days ago you wanted to slap the boy that dare touch you.
When Ashley looked up, she found Adam staring at her. Being caught, he simply smiled and held his hand out, "Shall we go?"
Ashley slowly reached to take his hand. Once they had connected, her heart soared. It'd been too long since she'd held a boy's hand. She had no idea just how wonderful it was.
Adam looked disappointed. "I'll walk you back, OK?"
Ashley grinned. "OK."
"You know, Ashley. I really enjoyed talking to you tonight. You're a very sweet and caring person. I would love to get to know you better."
He then leaned down and let his lips brush the top of her forehead.
"Would this help?" Adam asked gently, leaning down and connecting his mouth over hers.
When they broke apart Ashley gasped. "Oh..."
Adam smiled and draped his arm over her shoulders. "C'mon, I don't want to get you into trouble."
They turned around and headed back toward the road. It was a half hour, and a bunch of flirtatious motions later that the two reached Ashley's house.
"See...if I'd gone to that stupid dance, I never would have met you in the park!" Ashley teased.
"Nah, it was fate. We would have met up eventually!" He replied.
"Is fate for me to kiss you?" Ashley whispered.
"I don't know. Try it and we'll find out..."
Ashley moved in to plant a kiss firmly on his lips and Adam leaned into it, wrapping his arms around her middle.
When she finally pulled away, she realized something. She had let some one get close to her. She promised never to do that. And yet, she didn't regret it.
"You can bet on it," He replied with a mischievous grin. Then turning he walked down the sidewalk, with a little extra bounce in his step.
"Whoa..." Ashley breathed. She watched until he was out of site, and walked into her house, feeling something change. Her life had meaning now. She no longer had to dodge love, for it had shown up in her lap.
Author's Notes: Ok, I decided to put them at the end this time. :) I know, I know...this wasn't my best work. *sigh* Maybe it's cause I believe Ashley belongs with Andros. *grin* Oh well, it's just a short standalone. Oh yes, thanks to Cynthia for helping me this past weekend when I'm so totally clueless about what to do when I can't write a flash back or with HTML. I don't know how she puts up with me, but I'm glad she does! ;)