Saturday, August 16

Will You Stay (Final Part)

Ashton wakes up early the next morning. The Sun is just about to rise but the sky is already bright. Anne is still fast asleep beneath the comfy duvet. He heads to the bathroom and takes a shower. Once he is all freshen up, Ashton goes into the kitchen and prepares breakfast for his beloved wife. “Good morning, sunshine”, he kisses Anne’s forehead. She directly wakes up and replies, “Good morning. Ash, are you okay?” Anne wonders why her husband is behaving weirdly this morning. “Hey I’m okay. Baby, I won’t hurt you anymore, I promised.” He plants a kiss on Anne’s lips. Anne draws a smile on her face. “Eat your breakfast first. I made it specially for you, with love. I’m going to meet Leo. It’s been awhile since the last time I met him. I miss my best friend” Ashton puts on his shoes. “Okay, have fun darling. But please be home for lunch. I’ll cook for you.” Anne kisses Ashton’s cheek. He grabs the car key and leaves the house. Anne gets up and eats her breakfast. A couple of minutes later, she hears a knock on the door. Anne gets the door and she startles because it’s Ashton. He smiles cheekily but the looks on his eyes concerns her. “Goodbye Anne, I’ll see you soon” He kisses his wife and leaves the house for real.


Ashton drives to the hospital, his former workplace and heads straight to the rooftop. He gets the place for himself and the view is stunning from up there. Ashton lights up a cigarette. Memories from the past flashes through his mind. He remembers one time when he sat beside his dad after his parents had a huge fight. He remembers when his father started smoking in front of him and said smoking is the only way to forget all the problems. He remembers the moment he started to smoke when he was 12. He remembers when he went to medical school and became one of the best surgeons in the state. He remembers the day when he met Anne and eventually married to his wife. He remembers the day he found out he was diagnosed with HIV. And he remembers the lie he told his wife this morning, saying that he wants to catch up with Leo. Ashton actual plan is to savor a few hours of solitude at the rooftop. The place is very personal to him. The rooftop is where he would have a long conversation with Leo, where he would smokes for hours after his shift ended. It is also the rooftop where he kissed Anne for the first time. Ashton throws the last cigarette and closes his eyes.

 Back at home, Anne enters the kitchen to start the dishwasher. Her eyes catch a glimpse of something rare on the fridge. There is a piece of red-coloured paper attached with a fridge magnet. It is a letter. Anne starts feeling nauseous. She takes the letter and soon begins reading it. First, she fall sitting on the cold ground. Second, she starts sobbing dreadfully. Anne gets up, rushes to the bedroom and changes her clothes and races like a jet to the hospital. She dials Leo’s cell on her way there. “Leo, is Ashton with you? Please tell me he’s with you!” Anne starts crying again. “I’m afraid not, why? Anne, are you okay?” Leo could senses something is wrong. “Can you go to the rooftop? I’ll meet you there” she hangs up.

Anne arrives at the hospital and parks her car. The first thing she sees is a crowd of people gathering at the foyer. Anne pushes everyone out of her way and right in front of her lies a static body. Throughout her 25 years of existence, Anne never feels more shattered than she is now. What’s in front of her is a dead man, someone she loves, someone she would die for, her husband. No, her dead husband. The late Ashton Flack.  Seeing him surrounded by a pool blood means only one thing, she’s too late. She wishes that she arrives earlier so she might still has the chance to save her husband. Her dead husband. Anne kneels down by the body. “No Ash noooooo! Please don’t leave me. You can’t leave me, I need you. Somebody save him, please!” Leo pulls her away and hugs her. He lets Anne cries her eyes out into his chest . If only she found the letter earlier, Ashton would still be alive

 Hey there, Anne... I don’t know where to start. Should I start from the day we met or the day that I started to hurt your feeling? I feel sick about everything. Sick that I hurt your feelings. I’m really sorry. I hate that your feeling got hurt like that. I want to take it back, but I can’t. But I do want to make things good with you. I wish I had a chance to make it right and be with you. But I knew I’d always have the chance. I’m just afraid of it. I might ruins the chance and hurt your feeling again. I don’t know what to do. You’re always told me that the day that I fall, you’ll be right behind me. And you did. I like you a lot. Like on a scale of one to ten, try infinity. To fall in love at first sight, things were going great, everything felt so right. The day that I first met you, I felt in love. I never wanted to believe in that called fate, but I don’t know what happened. I felt good about it. I never thought that I will be the happiest man alive when I met you. I thank you for that, Anne. I don’t know how to put this in words but I have to. I have an HIV positive. I knew it right before our wedding day. I got it from the boy that I help when I was In Ethiopia. His parents died due to HIV. I couldn’t believe it myself too. I know I’d break your heart and I just couldn’t face the fact that I’d hurting too and I’m afraid.. I vow, like the vows we did during our wedding that I never cheated on you. I’m helpless, Anne. I tired of this. I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. You were there throughout my days and nights, but I couldn’t burden you more with my mess. I hate getting flashbacks from things that I don’t want to remember. I probably shouldn’t have done that. I wish I knew what goes on your mind when you read this. I wish I can hug you right in the moment you finish reading this because I knew, you’ll definitely cry after reading this. But, I know, I couldn’t. I should go away, far away. It hurts but I know it is for the best. I confess you are the best thing in my life that I would get jealous of the people who get to see you and be with you every day after I gone. Nobody has ever made me feel the way you do. Till we meet again. I wish. I always love you. I do. 

 Love, Ashton Flack

Will You Stay (Part 14)

“There’s absolutely nothing that can change him now, Anne. He’s depressed” Luke says while handing a cup of warm peppermint tea to Anne. 
“You have to be patient, Anne. He’s struggling with his life. He feels neglected every time he sees you and Leo together. He’s obviously jealous because you spend more time at the hospital, plus Leo works there too. As Luke says, he’s depressed.” Natalie sits on the armchair across Anne. 

“He lost his job and his wife has to work to support him. His addiction becomes worst because he has got nothing to do, honey. All he wants is to forget his entire problems” Natalie adds. Anne lets out a sigh full of distress. “I know that he’s depressed. That’s why I chose to stay with him. I love him so much. I’ve never been in love with anyone before him, he’s my first love and I do hope he’s my last. I’ve done everything I could to help him overcomes his addiction, forces him to take his medicine and brings him for therapy.” Anne places the teacup on the saucer. She continues, “The day I found out that he was infected by HIV, my heart sank. I wish he never went to Ethiopia. I can listen to your advice Luke, to leave him. But I stay, because I love him. He has no else in his life, apart from Leo and I. No matter what happen, I will stay with him.” 

 Luke puts his arm around Natalie’s shoulder.“Your love doesn’t has the power to change him, sis. If it can, why is he still like that? Do you know why he wouldn’t change, despite everything that you’ve done for him? Because he’s self-centered! A selfish guy!” Luke stands up and disappears into the kitchen. From there, he says to Anne, “As long as both of you are together, you’ll always live in the hell of suffering.” 

 The three of them do not realize that their discussion is about to unleash a hurricane in someone’s life. Ashton has been eavesdropping from behind the door throughout their conversation. The minute Anne leaves the house, Ashton realizes it is never her fault that things turn out to be this way around. He should not be too harsh to his wife. He knows that all Anne wants is to see him live. Plus he knows full well that Anne loves her but yesterday’s incident at the hospital really crushed him. He awares that every time they have an argument, Anne will go to her brother’s house. So he follows her to apologise. 

Just a split second before his knuckle knocks the door, he heard the conversation between Anne and his brother in law. Ashton leaves the doorstep before anyone realizes that he was there. He returns to his house, lights up a cigarette as usual and loss himself in his thoughts. He loves Anne, God knows how deeply in love he is with her. But the flame of jealousy would always light up upon the two of them. “I must change. For Anne and everyone else’s sake. He switches off the light and crawls under the quilt in hope that tomorrow he could talk to Anne about what’s bothering him. 
 It is an hour before midnight when Anne arrives home. Even though Ashton and her got into a fight, Anne cannot remain mad at him. She needs Ashton and Ashton needs her. She realizes that going to Luke’s house and telling her brother about her problem with Ashton was a huge mistake. 

It is pitch black in their bedroom. Anne switches on the bedside lamp and sees Ashton sleeping soundly on the bed. She lies down beside him, facing his back and strokes his hair. Anne misses Ashton very much so she hugs him. “I’m sorry Ash, I shouldn’t have left you this morning. I love you Ash, not just for now, but forever. And I’m dreaming for the day that you’ll take me in your arms again.” 

Ashton was awake by the time Anne lay down next to him but he pretends to be asleep. He listens to Anne’s words. Ashton cries unintentionally because he knows that Anne misses the old Ashton Flack, the one who always cheers her up. He turns around, grabs Anne’s hand and hugs her tightly leaving her breathless.

 “I love you too, Anne” Ashton whispers as he kisses her neck. “Would it be okay to you if I redeem myself tonight for behaving like a child this morning?” He smirks. Anne can’t help but to accept his flirtatious offer. Ashton opens the drawer of the nightstand to grab the ‘thing’ to equip himself for the long night before switching off the table lamp. Both Ashton and Anne enjoy the wonderful night.

Will You Stay (Part 13)

“I’m home, darling” Anne hugs Ashton from his back. “Happy Anniversary Ash. The past 36 hours were killing me. I miss you so much it hurts. Glad that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow”. She plants a kiss on his neck. As much as Ashton is still annoyed by the incident, seeing Anne somehow cleared the air a little bit. He doesn’t want to dismay Anne so he fakes a smile. 

“Please tell me you’re hungry because one, I’m starving and two, I cooked your favourite chicken pot pie that you’ve been craving for since the last 36 hours.” “On the scale of 1 to 10, I’m at 11 of how hungry I am. Let’s fill the monster in my tummy now”, Anne takes Ashton’s hand whilst her other hand takes the cigarette he is smoking and throws it.

 “OH MY GOD! Are you sure you haven’t seen Jamie Oliver sneaking into our apartment? Cause this Chicken Pot Pie is the best I’ve ever had in my entire life!”, Anne mumbles with her eyes closed. “Wow that’s a huge compliment baby, thank you. So, are you ready for your gift?” Ash asks halfheartedly. “Of course I am. Is it normal that I’m sweating out of nerve haha”, Anne places the cutlery down. Across her, Ashton is holding a beautifully wrapped box with a red bow. Anne takes his gift and eagerly opens it. Inside, there is a stethoscope with both Ashton and Anne’s names carved in cursive writing. She is overwhelmed by the present, tears rain from her sparkly eyes. “You even have our names carved there! I swear this is the best gift ever. Thank you so much Ash!” Ashton glad to see the look on Anne’s face. He is flattered by her priceless reaction. “The reason I put our name together is to remind you that I’m always by your side every time you use it.” Ash takes a sip of wine. “I love you forever Ashton Flack. You know, I wouldn’t mind if you hurt my feelings because it would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you”. Anne kisses the back of Ashton’s right hand. 

 The analogue clock on their wall shows quarter past nine in the morning. “Ash, honey, wake up. I’ve made breakfast for you.” Anne places the tray containing a stack of pancakes and freshly squeezed orange juice on the night stand. Ashton groans and stretches his arms. He takes the cigarette box in the drawer and lights it up, his favourite dish for breakfast. “You have a therapy at eleven, you should get ready now darling”, Anne shouts from the dressing table. Ashton ignores her entirely. Antiretroviral Therapy is the treatment that 

Ashton started receiving from the day he was diagnosed with HIV. The treatment helps to maintain a low level of the virus inside him. He is required to consume a combination of HIV medicines every day. These HIV medicines could extend his life, promote a healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

 “No. I’m not going anywhere.” Ashton walks towards the glass windows showing the magnificent view of the city. “Oh come on. You know that this treatment is important for you. Stop acting like a three years old, will you? You should get going now.” Anne takes Ashton’s towel and hands it to him, in hope the dark clouds above him flew away. “Have you ever thought of what’s the purpose of me having to go for that treatment if we both know well and aware that one day I’m still gonna die. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, who knew? So please, love, let me enjoy the remnants of my life peacefully.” 

Ashton is getting annoyed by Anne’s nag. Little that he knows that Anne is bubbling with wrath. Ashton’s cheek is now red from her powerful slap. “How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t die? At least not for now.” Anne starts crying. “You promised that you will always be my side, supporting me. If you’re not around, who will Ash? Who?” Ashton faces Anne and sarcastically reply, “Leo. You got him, am I right? He’d be there for you.” “Leo, Leo frickin Leo. Why do you have to bring up his name every time we fight? This thing we’re dealing with, is between you and me. He has got nothing to do with this.” Anne is speaking with her fierce tone now. “I can’t believe that you think I’m so na├»ve. You think I didn’t know what both of you did behind my back?! You guys must’ve done something when I’m far away in Ethiopia, right? I know Leo has feelings for you, Anne. He never said that to me, but I’m sure. Because he’s my friend.” Ashton punches the glass window leaving an echo inside the room.

 “What rubbish! If we really had done something when you were at Ethiopia, I will not propose you after you got back. I don’t care about him, I just want you Ashton.” Anne wraps her arms around Ashton’s waist. He let himself free from her. “Remember our anniversary day? I went to the hospital to fetch you. And do you know what I saw? I saw both of you, alone, happily laughing to God-knows-what topic and then you kissed him.”

 “So you saw both of us? You know what really happen at that time? He congratulates us for our anniversary, that’s it! I can simply file a divorce when I found out that you have HIV, but I chose to stay. I don’t care about what other people say, I’m willing to risk my life to be with you, because I love you Ashton, I love you so much. I know you love your cigarette more than you will ever love me. I know that you can live without me, but not without your cigarette, but I can’t live without you Ash, you’re my everything.” Anne is tasting saltwater from her own eyes. “You know what, I had enough, Ashton. I’m tired of this bullshits!” Anne turns away, slams the door and leaves the house. She is heading to her brother’s house.

Will You Stay (Part 12)

It’s half past four. The clouds started dripping droplets of clear liquid when Ashton left home approximately 50 minutes ago. He is on his way to the hospital to ferry Anne home because they are celebrating their very first anniversary tonight. Aston promised Anne that he will cook her favourite Chicken Pot Pie as a reward after her 36-hours deranged shift. Ashton never love the rain and now the traffic is collaborating with the weather in the game of upsetting him. He is losing so he uses his all-time winning weapon to counteract. Ashton rolls the window down and lights a cigarette. 

“You’ve been smiling all day. What’s the occasion?” “Today is my first wedding anniversary with Ashton. I’m so excited. Can’t wait to go back and celebrate with him” Leo half smirks in reply to Anne’s answer. A small part of him is happy for her though his heart has gone through a terrible process to bring a stop towards his unconditional love for Anne.

 Leo sighs and takes a gulp. He tasted bile. “May all your years to come, bring in loads of sweet and lovely memorable times in your life. I congratulate you, and wish you a very Happy Anniversary, Anne” “Thank you Leo, you’re such a good friend. Ashton is so lucky to have you as his best friend” “Friend huh”, Leo murmured as he faces away from Anne. “I’m so happy to see both of you together. I never imagined that Ashton is going to get married before. He’s not the dating type.” Anne let out a giggle. Maybe she is too obsessed admiring Ashton that she never realized he never had a serious relationship before they were together.

 “Haha really?” “Yeah, but that was before he met you. He never has time for anything other else than his work. He can hardly leave this place, it’s like home to him.” Leo reminisces the past. “And after he met you, he changed. It was hard for me to believe that Ashton, the work machine, changed because he met a girl. But I’m not surprised that he did because, well, it’s you. I know that both of you will be together”. Leo makes Anne awed. “Wow, now a psychologist can predict someone’s future. Are you sure you’re not a seer?” Leo puts his hands inside his pockets when the frosty wind blows. He looks into Anne’s eyes and says, “I’m not predicting your future, my dear Anne. For your information, we never talk about anything other than man’s stuff before. But since he met you, his topic will always have an association with you. Ashton really loves you Anne, he really do.” 

 Anne can feel the warmth of her tears in the corner of her eyes so she hastily blinks it away. “I know Leo. I love him too, I love him so much. And I can’t imagine my life without him”. She takes a quick glance at her watch and realized that she had spent almost an hour on the rooftop with Leo. “I’m so sorry Leo but I really have to get going now, he’s been waiting for me since morning. I’ll catch up with you soon Leo”. 

Anne plants a friendly kiss on Leo’s left cheek and heads to the elevator. Before he left their apartment, Ashton felt a yearning for his meeting with Anne but now he doubts that. He throws the cigarette between his teeth onto the concrete floor and steps on it furiously. Seeing Anne and Leo laughing intimately makes his heart aches. “After all that I’d done, Anne” he monologues. 

Ashton clenches his fist and walks back to his car and return home cancelling his plan to fetch his wife. The first thing Ashton does when he enters the apartment is switching off every single light in there. He sets up the table although he is not sure whether the dinner is still on or not. His encounter with Anne and Leo at the hospital still messes his minds. Once everything is in place, he goes out into the balcony and lights another cigarette, the 20th for today. Ashton hears a knock on the door and he knows that Anne is home. He lets the sound sink into the depths of the silence and enjoys the poison in his mouth instead.

Will You Stay (Part 11)

Luke stares hard. “Can I see her?” right after Ashton finished his words, Luke hits Ashton’s face. He falls on the ground.
“Go home now and never come back again,” Luke says with his angry voice.
“Or else, I’ll kill you with my bare hand, Ash. Don’t make me do it,” Anne run out from her bedroom as she heard noises came from her front door of her house.
“Luke!” she cries a little. She runs towards Ashton.
“Luke, stop it and leave us alone,” she shouts. Ashton looks at her.
“Leave us alone, Luke.” She says.
“I’m tired of this shit Anne,” Luke replies and he walks into his bedroom with Natalie.
 Anne lifts Ashton up and takes him inside of the house. Anne looks at Ashton. She manages to stay calm.
 “Since when you knew about this virus?” Anne asks but Ashton keeps his mouth shut. Both of them keep on silent for a moment.
“Since I got back from Ethiopia. I knew about this right after our blood test results came out,” Ashton answers
. “But, it was negative, right?” “ Both of us?” Anne cries a little.
  “I’d fake it,” his head down as he’s crying silently. Anne’s speechless.
  “How could you do this to me, Ash?” “ Wait, does it mean that you knew before our marriage?” Anne asks.
 “I couldn’t tell you about this,” He sobs. “I couldn’t afford of losing you because I love you, Anne,” Ashton says while holding Anne’s hand. Anne puts her hand on Ashton’s face. She smiles.
 “I’m holding tight on our vow, Ash. I will stay forever with you no matter what happen,”
 “We can handle this together if you told me from the beginning,” she smiles
“If I told you before, would you still marry me?” Ashton stops. “You’ll sick of me, Anne,” Ashton says while holding her face.
 “Our marriage is not only about love. It’s beyond everything.”
 “What makes you think I can’t handle this problem with you Ashton? If I can handle with your cigarette problem, this won’t be a problem,” she kisses him.
 “I love you Ashton, I love you no matter what and I promise to you that I’ll help you to go through thick and thin.”
 “Will you stay with me?”
 “I will, Ash,” they hug tightly like it is the end of the world and they kiss passionately.
They were happy again. Ashton become healthy again and he resign his job. Ashton becomes sweet again towards Anne and treats Anne like a princess.

Will You Stay (Part 10)

Both of them get back to work as usual. Anne looks miserable. Leo notices her but he doesn’t want to approach her but he approach Ashton instead.
“Hey, man,” he taps Ashton’s shoulder. Ashton chuckles.
Leo asks quietly, “Are you happy Ash?” Leo asks Ashton.
Ashton hesitates, “Of course, man. I’m happy,” Ashton said but he doesn’t look at him.
“Really?” Leo asks again but this time Ashton didn’t answer back.
“I’ve known you for years, Ash. I know that you’re not okay.”
“And plus I’m a psychologist and you knew it.” He stops. “You can’t lie to me Ash,” Leo said but Ashton keeps his mouth shut and he excuses himself from Leo saying that he has a patient waiting.
            Leo is looking for Ashton afterward at the rooftop but he saw Anne instead. He knew something is not right between them.
 “Are you okay, Anne?” Leo asks. Anne looks up in the sky as if she tries to hold in her tears.
Suddenly, Anne bursts into tears. She’s crying hard. She couldn’t stop.
Leo feels bad and he tries to calm her.
“I don’t know what to do, Leo. I’m tired of this,”
“I had enough.” She’s crying a little harder. Leo tries to soothe Anne and all of sudden, Leo didn’t realize that he actually hugs Anne as she lays her head on Leo’s shoulder. Far away, Ashton sees them and he walks away. His head throbs as he senses himself fill with anger and jealousy.

Ashton didn’t come back home for two days. Anne is waiting for Ashton with feeling of worries and anger. Anne called him thousand times Ashton but he didn’t answer his phone. The next day, he’s finally home and he looks miserable but he looks sober.
 “Where have you been Ashton Flack?” Anne’s trying not to yell. She takes a deep breath.
 Ashton chuckles, “Why bother?”
He continues “You had Leo with you, so you don’t need me anymore,” Ashton says it while looking somewhere else.
“Huh, what?” she says. “Ash, look at me,” she snaps her fingers.
“Do not involve anyone into our problem, would you?” she says. “This is only between us. Leo has nothing to do with this,”
“It’s just you and me Ash,” she starts trembling. Ashton looks away.
“Tell me, Ashton. What is wrong with you?” she’s yelling. “Why are you become like this?” she hits Ashton’s chest with her knuckles several times.
“Why you did this to me Ash. Why?” she pauses. “Can you stop torturing me, Ash? I’m tired of this,” she’s crying hard. Ashton looks at her.
 “Me torturing you?” he laughs a little.
“It’s me, Anne. I’m the one who suffered!” he starts yelling.
            “You know nothing about me, Anne. So, shut the fuck up!” he bursts out. She’s trembling. She never seen Ashton acted this way.  “How am I supposed to know about you if you weren’t at home all the time?” she replies in tears. “Answered me Ash. Who’s the one is suffered? Me or you?” she says. “Don’t you dare telling me that I know nothing about you Ash,” she stops.
Ashton laughs and he burst out again. “I’m the one who suffered Anne. Suffered from this stupid HIV virus!!” Ashton yells. Anne looks surprise.
“What...what did you just say? HIV?” Anne says it while she’s crying. “What are you talking about, Ash. You make me afraid,” she says. “Ashton, what is wrong with you? Do tell me Ashton. Tell me, you’re killing me!!!” Anne starts to yell but Ashton just keeps on silent. “Oh, shit, Ash. I had enough of this crap,” she leaves him as she goes to Luke’s house.

Will You Stay (Part 9)

The big day has arrived. Luke takes Anne walking down the aisle. Ashton looks at Anne as she is the most beautiful bride that he ever seen especially in that wedding gown. Ashton overwhelms and his best man, Leo feels the same way too.
 Luke kiss Anne’s forehead and past her hand to Ashton. He smiles as he is the happiest man in the world. “You look so beautiful, Anne.” He whispers on her ear. She smiles.
The father starts the ceremony until they make their vows.
The father says, “Anne Harper, will you take Ashton Flack to be your husband?”
 “I do,”
“Ashton Flack, will you take Anne Harper to be your wife?”
He pauses, “I do,”
“By the power vested in me by the State of New Jersey, I now pronounce you as husband and wife forever,”
“You may kiss the bride.” And the guests clapping their hand.

The weather is nice and it feels so romantic here in Bora Bora but Ashton doesn’t feel anything. He feels distracted because he’s afraid Anne would get infected when they make love.
At their bedroom, Anne is trying to seduce Ashton with her seductive body. Ashton falls into her and they started to kiss each other. Anne pulls Ashton slowly to the bed and the atmosphere turns into romantic as their love fills in the air. They kiss each other until Ashton feel so engrossed for a moment and doesn’t remember that he has a HIV. Then, he realises as Anne wants to tuck his pant down, he decided to wear a protection. Anne feels weird.
 “Why did you use the protection?”
 “I...I think that I’m not ready to have a kid right now,” Anne kind of shock after she heard about it but she didn’t say anything. They continue of what they were doing just now.

They were back from Bora Bora and everything is back to normal. They already married for 2 month. Anne realised that every time she wants to be with Ashton, he would run away from her.
He often changes topics whenever Anne starts to say something about cigarette until Anne feels sick about it.
            The next day, Ashton comes back home late and he’s drunk. He never acted this way before. Anne burst into tears.
“Ash, what happened to you?” Anne’s shouting.
“For god sake, Ash, why are you become like this?” “You never drink before and you never get drunk,” Ashton laughs.
“Why are you changing so much?” Anne asks but Ashton just keeps his mouth shut.
“ASHTON!!!! ANSWERED ME FOR GOD SAKE!!!!” Anne lost her patient.
 “SHUT UP!!!” Ashton suddenly burst out and he run to his bedroom and slam the door.
 Anne chasing him “Open this fucking door, Ash,” “Open this door, for god sake, Ash!”
“Ash!!” she bursts into tears. She’s crying hard.
“Leave Me Alone!!” Ashton shout from inside as he’s crying hard too.

Will You Stay (Part 8)

The wedding is just around the corner and both of their blood tests results are finally out. Ashton gets a call from a lab. Doctor Arjun calls him as he wanted to meet Ashton. 
“I don’t know how to start this but I have news to tell you,”
“I hate to be the barrier but I think,” he pauses. “You should cancel the wedding, Ash.”
“What?” Why would I?” Ashton looks confuse.
“Wait. What’s happening?” Ashton feels his stomach’s churn.
Doctor Arjun asks, “Listen, did you ever sleep with any prostitute out there within these 3 months?”
“No,” he would never do that.
“Wait,” “Ethiopia,” he says under his breath.
“I do get involve with voluntary work but... it can’t be it.”
Doctor Arjun asks once again. “Did you ever treat a HIV patient when you were there?"
 Ashton keeps silent but then he suddenly walks out from Doctor Arjun’s office slowly.

Ashton remembered he made a mashed potato for the boy because he was staying alone. Plus, he never had a chance to eat mashed potato with black paper sauce at Ethiopia. His parents died two days ago because of a HIV. He decided to make it as if it will cheer him up. He accidently cut his finger while making it but he ignored the cut. As he went to the boy’s house, he saw the boy ran towards him and he was accidently fell down. He rushed towards him and he saw a cut at that his elbow. But, he didn’t realize that when he touched the cut, he actually used his finger that somehow would changes his life. To make it worst, he didn’t know that the boy also suffered from HIV.
Ashton come back home late at night as he saw Anne’s choosing their wedding card. Ashton decided to stay together with Anne. She finally moved into his house last week although his brother doesn’t agreed much about it.
“Honey, you’re home,” Anne looks him from far.
“Ash, which one is prettier?” Ashton does not answer her question and leave her dumbfounded. Ashton walks into the balcony and takes his cigarette out.
Anne marches towards him, snatches the cigarette and throws it away in front of him.
 “You’d promise me not to smoke again, right?” Anne stares at him hard as Ashton stares back.
Ashton takes out another cigarette and puffs out the smokes right in front of her face. Anne is too tired to keep arguing the same thing with Ashton, and then she walks away from him.
As Ashton walks into their bedroom, Anne’s pretending that she fell asleep although she’s not. Ashton stares at her back as she’s lying on the bed. He knows that she fakes it. He feels bad.
“Honey, I’m sorry,” Ashton says under his breath. Anne does not budge.
 “I’m sorry,” Anne suddenly wake up and takes out something.
“Luke gave this to me. It was for our honeymoon.” “After our wedding, he wants us go there.” Anne says. Ashton is looking at the ticket but he feels empty.

Will You Stay (Part 7)

Although Ethiopia does not develop as much as New Jersey, Ashton is feeling grateful to be there. Even though the food shortage in Ethiopia is high and diseases among women and children are unbearable but for Ashton, it is a beautiful country as the country is being blessed with sunshine. He occupies himself curing diseases among women and children days and nights for couple of months. He feels good about it.
It is hard to find a signal here and it has been a while that he didn’t contact Anne. Ashton decided to write a letter to Anne as he is missing her. They wrote letters to each other for almost every week. Although it takes a week to deliver the letter, but that is the only way to get in touch with. And he is the happiest man alive when he received a letter from Anne.

Back in New Jersey, Anne is so excited when she received letter from Ashton. She would wait for it days and nights because she just couldn’t wait to read the letter. She is glad to know that Ashton’s addiction is getting lessen day by day.
Leo is the first person she told about Ashton. She knew that Leo would be pleased if he heard about the news. Anne met Leo almost every week when Ashton is not around. She would talk about Ashton and she tells Leo that she wants to propose Ashton when he gets back to New Jersey.
Leo feels something when Anne talks about Ashton almost of the time. Whenever Anne talked about Ashton, he didn’t paying any attention toward it. He would stare at Anne’s face and he has to admit it, he has fallen in love with Anne. He knew it was wrong but he couldn’t help it.
When Anne talked about proposing Ashton, he was heartbroken.
Ashton has return from Ethiopia for good. He looks fresh when Anne fetches him up at the airport. 3 months had gone and he feels good about it. They couldn’t wait for anything else as they go back home, they make love passionately. That is what they longing for. They fall asleep right after it. In the next morning, Anne makes a breakfast for Ash and brings it to bed. She kisses Ashton until he is wide awake. He eats pancake and he in shock. He found a ring. He looks at Anne and he says yes.

 “No!” Luke gazes at Anne. “Look, you told me that he’s a heavy smoker and you know I don’t like it, don’t you?” he says.
            “I can’t afford to lose you, Anne. It’s like you’re killing yourself.” Luke stops.
            Natalie looks at her husband. “Luke, they’re both grown up. They know what to do. Plus, they’re already engaged,” she stops. “Do you want them to break off?”
            “Nate, stay away from this. I’m his brother. I’m the one who will take her hand down the aisle.”
            “Are you kidding me, Luke?” Nate says.
“With Ashton?” “I don’t think so, Nate.” He says.
            Anne doesn’t say a word. She’s trying to keep her head down. Luke feels bad as Natalie stares hard at him.
            Luke says, “Bring him home. I want to know him better,” Natalie smiles. She turns her head to face Anne.
            “When did he propose?” Natalie asks Anne cheerfully.
            “He did not,” Anne answers Natalie. “I proposed him.”
            “What???!!!” Are you kidding me Anne?” Luke disbelief.
            “Luke, I’m in love with him. I just can’t help it.” Anne speaks.  “Can you just this once, have some faith in it? I never asked anything before. Just this Luke, I need you to be with me.” Anne walks off and enters her room.
Natalie looks at him. “Honey, she deserves to be happy,”
“Do you remember what she had done to you? She had sacrificed her dream. Being a doctor is not her passion, but she done it for you.”
Luke sighs and enters Anne’s room.
“When is your wedding?” Anne gets up from her bed and hugs him.
 “Promise me you would be happy,” Luke says. She nods.

Will You Stay (Part 6)

Days goes by, Ashton’s addiction is getting worse. The worse, he always fights with Anne due to his addiction. He just couldn’t do anything about it. He couldn’t control his temper that he would just burst out. They fight days and nights until Anne couldn’t handle it anymore. She decided to meet with Leo Mikaelson. 
“He’s change.” Anne says.
“I’d known him since we were child. He’s stubborn, I admitted it though.” Leo pauses.
“After his mom left him, he would give up on anything if he doesn’t get his cigarette.”
“But, he loves you,” “And now, he would give up on anything just for you, Anne,” he stops.
“Not with the cigarette, though,” she replies and Leo couldn’t say anything more.
 “I need a break,” Ashton met Leo at his office. He feels guilty towards Anne after what had done to her. He feels terrible as if he wants to knock himself out. Leo looks at him.
            “I’m tired of hurting her. I just couldn’t believe the fact that I’d hurting her days and night. I don’t know what to do, man,” he sounds gloomy.
            “Plus, I’d messed up with my work,” he sighs.
            “You’re seriously need a break? What do you want to do?” Leo asks him.
            “I want to get involve with voluntary project,” he says.
            “Where?” Leo questions him. Ashton hesitates.
            He answered, “Ethiopia,” Leo speechless.

 “3 months?!” Anne couldn’t believe of what she just heard. “Are you kidding me, Ash?” “Ethiopia?” she stares at him.
“I tried to change, Anne. I’m tired of being me lately. I’m tired of hurting you,” “I tried to stay away from that shit, Anne,” he stops. “I need you to understand me. 3 months won’t be so long.”
“Ash, you don’t have to go far away, away from me. I can help you,” she cries a little. “Ash, please?”
“I’m gone for good, Anne,” he hugs Anne tightly.
“How am I gonna contact you?” It makes Ashton laughs a little.
“I love you, Anne.”
“I love you more, Ash.”

Will You Stay (Part 5)

“I love you Anne Harper,” Ashton says under his breath. He feels relieved. He has this huge smile on his face. He never feels so good about it and then he walks away leaving Anne dumbfounded.
It has been several days that Ashton confessed to her. Ashton acted cool like it never happened. Anne confused but somehow, she felt it too. She loves Ashton. She doesn’t know what to do.
The day when Ashton and Anne had been together prepping for a surgery, Anne blurted the words.
“I love you too,” she says under her breath. Ashton could die a happy man.

 “What inspired you to study medicine?” he exhales the smokes out. Anne looks at the smokes. She coughs silently.
            “My parents. Especially my mom,” she smiles. “Both of them were doctors.”
            “Were?” Ashton asks her.
            “They were killed in an accident.”
            “You were all alone?” Ashton asks.
            “Nope. Luke Harper. He’s my brother. I live with him, with my sister in-law too,” she smiles.
            She pauses.
            “Before the accident, they were fighting. Mom wished Luke to be a doctor. He hated it. He loved his job but he was only 19,” she stops.
            “He’s a photographer,” she smiles. “The day they fought, dad wasn’t there. Mom found an acceptance letter from medical school at Luke’s in his room. She doesn’t believe it because the interview date was 2 weeks before.”
            She stops. “It hurt so much to see they fought.” Ashton takes a quick glance at her.
 Anne clears her throat. “Their yelling bursting as I stood at the stairs.”
 “Luke was covering his face with his hands. He weren’t happy. My mom weren’t too.”
“Dad was home on time. He tried to calm mom but she refused. And then, they went out.”
“They went out. There was a called. Luke picked it up, and he cried hard,” she pauses.
 “Do you remember I cried at the rooftop?” she asks Ashton.
“The old woman?” she pauses. “She looked exactly like my mom,” she cries a bit. Ashton shrugs.
“Hey, I would never leave you alone. No matter what,” they stare and they kiss.
“What about you and your cigarette?” she smiles.
“It’s my best friend, Anne. The smokes would go away, and whoosh, same goes with my mess.”
 It’s a metaphor though,” Ashton grins.
“I’m here now, Ash. I can help you.”
Ashton stares her hard. Then, he grabs her neck slowly. He puts his face against her and starts kissing her. She leans down and they’re making out. She stays the night. She snuggles into his chest and falls asleep. Ashton’s looking for his cigarette and he puffs out.

Will You Stay (Part 4)

Ashton saw Anne came out from Leo’s office. He is standing a couple of feet away from Leo’s office. He could see Leo’s face as Anne walked out from his office. He feels something. Something that is not quite right. Jealous. Yes, he is. He could feel his face’s hot and his head throbs. He needs to smoke as it will take away his pain. Anne saw him but he looked away. He off to the rooftop and she followed him silently.
The smoke fills his lung. His headache disappears. He heard a sound of footsteps near him but he doesn’t look away.
“I know you’re mad at me because I didn’t show up yesterday,” she says. “I should’ve told you, doc.” “I’m sorry,” her voice sounded like a plea. Ashton doesn’t respond. She felt guilty.
“Look, doc,” he could hear Anne took her deep breath.
 “What happened between us the other day was not supposed to happen. I was out of my mind. I... I...shouldn’t have kissed you,” she stops.
Ashton stepped on the burning cigarette on the floor and puffed out the smokes. He turns his back and facing Anne. He could see her body tense as he stares hard at her face.
“Why not?” Ashton says calmly. He looks at her. Anne stands still.
Ashton continues, “It was the best thing that ever happened in my life,” then he walks away.

 “Are you serious?” Ashton and Leo are at the coffee shop across the hospital. “I just couldn’t believe it dude,” Leo can’t stop laughing.
“I know,” Ashton pauses. “I just couldn’t believe it too,” He sips the coffee. “It’s just happening, man,” he pauses.
“What happened?” he pauses. “I mean, dude, you’d never fell in love. After what your mom did, you swore that you would...”
“I know,” Ashton cuts him.
“Man, I don’t know what to do. I had no clues,” Ashton sighs.
“Do you really love her?” Leo sounds serious like he never before.
Ashton looks at him. “Beyond everything man.”
He rushes out from the cafe. He runs across the road. He looks for Anne ups and down the hospital’s corridor. He bursting into each of the wards but he couldn’t find her. He passes by the paediatric wards and he saw her laughing with this little girl. His heart melts. Anne saw him across the ward. She gives him a smile. Ashton walks towards her. She stands uncomfortable as Ashton approaches her.
“Doctor Ash?”
“I love you, Anne,”
She is trembling.

Will You Stay (Part 3)

Ashton walks out from the hall and meets up with her husband to tell him about his wife. He kept calling his wife’s name as he bursting into tears. His children are there and they’re hugging each other as soon they heard the news.
            He’s looking for Anne but he seems can’t find her. He searches at the locker room, cafe but she is nowhere to be found. He decides to fill his lung as he is longing for his cigarette and he off to his favourite place. The rooftop.
            He takes out his cigarette from his pocket and he let the smokes out from his nostril. He stands still at the rooftop when he heard what sounded like a sob in the rooftop. Then, suddenly, silence. That is strange. He continues with his smoking and he heard it again. Shit, it sounded like Anne.
            He follows the sound along the corridor. There is no one else about. There is less sobbing now and more laboured breathing. He turns one more corner and there is Anne.
            “Who goes there?” she asks. She spotted Ashton. Her mascara streaked down her cheeks. Ashton saw her as her eyes looked gloomy, sad and he sat next to her. Her sobbing was getting harder when Ashton put his arm across her neck and let her head rest on his left shoulder. Anne lifted her head up and look intently towards Ashton. The moment that her lips touched him, he fell in love for the first time.

The next day, Anne didn’t show up at work. Ashton knew Anne tried to gather back her strength after what had happened yesterday.
The day after, she shows up. Leo saw her and asked her to enter to his office. As a psychiatrist, Leo has the ability to spot someone who has a problems and he did spot Anne’s problem. Anne doesn’t say a word as she follows Leo into his office.
            “How are you?” he asks as they both has seated. Anne looks at him. “I know this is hard, Anne, but I need to know what had been lingered in your mind,” he pauses.
 “I don’t want any problems bothering you as it’ll affect your performance as a trainee,” he says.
            “I’m sorry, Doctor Leo. It was my fault that the old woman passed away,” her eyes in tears.
            “I shouldn’t lose my focused during the operation,” she pauses. “I..., I... could’ve save her life if I gave Doctor Ash the cauter immediately,” she trembling.
“But I didn’t.” There is a silence.
            “Look Anne.” “You shouldn’t act that way. I know you felt guilty towards it, but you just can’t blame yourself for what had happened,” he pauses. “People come and go. You just can’t do anything if it has meant to be,” Leo looks at her.
            “I’ll try my best, Doctor Leo,” she looks at him. “I got to go.” “Doctor Ash is waiting for me to go through my med reports,” she smiles.
            “Thanks,” he nods his head.