Chapter 5: Surprises Suck
She hadn’t expected him to turn up outside her window, and she certainly hadn’t expected they’d be together that night. However, that was the thing about surprises, they stumbled upon you suddenly and delivered the unexpected. Much like the one she was about to receive.
It had been a week since Mark’s surprise visit, and after the long talk they had, and even longer night they shared, Mark decided not to push her anymore, if they were meant to be together, a sign would let them know. Ashley went downstairs to breakfast that morning, thinking it was any other Tuesday, but when her mother greeted her with that smile, Ashley knew something was different. Something had definitely changed.
“I’ve got some good news.” She said, and Ashley raised an eyebrow, skeptical because none of the news she received lately was what she would consider good news.
“Oh,” Was all she could manage to say.
“Your father called this morning,” She said, “This has been in debate for a while but we didn’t want to tell you until we knew for sure.” Ashley narrowed her eyes.
“What’s that?” She asked, and her mother smiled.
“Well,” She said, “your dad knew how much you kids loved Brook Falls, Randy doesn’t want to leave and with your dad leaving its keeping you from your friends. So, your dad got in touch with his sister, Cheryl, and they made a deal.”
“What kind of deal?” She asked, and her mother’s smile grew.
“Your father would let her live there, free of charge as long as you kids could spend as much time there as you pleased. You’re Aunt Cheryl loves you guys anyways, so she had no problem with the arrangement.” She said, and for the first time in a long time, Ashley actually smiled.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in years,” Ashley said, the sign she had been waiting for, her and Mark really did belong together.
“Oh, and Randy said, not to worry, he knows the drill. His lips are sealed.” His mother said and Ashley laughed.
“That’s great,” She said, “Can I go to Brook Falls this weekend?” Her mother laughed.
“Of course you can.” She said, and Ashley smiled.
The whole way up, Ashley imagined the look on his face when he realized that she was back, and wouldn’t be leaving Brook Falls after all. However, when she arrived, he wasn’t there. The others were also surprised to see her, it appeared as if Randy kept to his word this time and hadn’t told any of them. Yet, Ashley noted there was something more to their surprise, in fact, she’d seen this look on their faces one other time, and that worried her.
They were sitting at the table in the Coates kitchen. She was next to Matt, who was counting birdshot on the table and purposely making her nervous tapping them with the butt of his knife. He knew she hated guns and bullets, and she was laughing telling him to stop when they first heard the bike, and everyone glanced up, and to each other.
No one moved at all.
That her first clue.
Ashley tried to get up from the table, and Matt grabbed her wrist, that was her second.
“Do yourself a favor,” He said, don’t look out that window.” There was her third. She ignored him, and looked out, just as they bike went by, with her on the back. She said nothing and sat back down at the table, the others held their breath waiting for a moment that didn’t come. They glanced around at each other in confusion, as Ashley made on like nothing happened.
A few minutes later, the bike was heard again, and once more everyone held their breath, exchanging glances and watching her curiously, but again she continued with what she was doing, even when the footsteps could be heard on the front porch. As the door opened, even Mr. and Mrs. Coates looked up as he came in, his eyes fell on her and he gasped, stumbling backward and knocking over the coat rack.
“Ashley,” He breathed and a sense of Deja vu filled the room. Her eyes met his and surprising everyone, she smiled.
“Hey Mark,” She greeted him, “Change of plans, guess I’m not going anywhere after all.” He laughed nervously and glanced around at the others.
“That’s great.” He answered.
They were standing out on the porch, leaning on the rail.
“When did you start seeing her again?” She asked, and he sighed.
“After I went to see you in Port City,” He said, “You were pretty clear that we weren’t getting back together. It kind of just happened. You’re not angry are you?”
“No,” She replied, “Of course not, you did exactly what I wanted you to do. How can I be angry with that?”
“I don’t love her or anything.” He said, “I can end things.”
“No,” She said, “It’s okay, don’t leave her on account of me. I broke it off with you, you did nothing wrong.”
“Yeah,” He said, “But it’s Becky, this has to be weird for you.”
“It’s none of my business who you date, Mark.” She said, “Just because I don’t like her, doesn’t mean you can’t.”
“Yeah,” He said, “But, you coming back, it changes everything. We can be together now.”
“Mark,” Ashley said, “As much as I want that to be, I can’t ask you not to give this a fair shot. Maybe you are really meant to be with her, isn’t that worth finding out before you end up marrying me and being unhappy?”
“I guess,” He replied, “But me being with her will make you unhappy.” She smiled.
“I’m fine,” She said, “Don’t worry about me.” She said, and he nodded.
“Okay if you’re sure.” He said, and she nodded.
“Very,” She answered with a smile. Of course she was lying, she was screaming inside, she was stubborn and waited too long and as a result, she lost him. Yet, she made a promise to Matt that if she messed up again, she wouldn’t hurt him. So she’d hide her true feelings and pretend to the best of her ability that it doesn’t bother her.
Besides, with any luck, Mark would get sick of Becky soon enough, and if he came back to her than she’d know that his love for her was true.
After all, she asked for a sign that they were meant to be together, and that sign came by making it possible for her to return to Brook Falls in the first place. Fate had a plan for them, and she wasn’t about to mess that all up by starting yet another unnecessary fight with him.
Hiding her pain, and plucking through it was the only way.
That night, Ashley wrote her true feelings in her diary. She snapped the book shut, sighed and turned out the light before laying down to sleep.
The next morning, she sat at the Coates table with the others and didn’t say much. Mark wasn’t around, he was off with Becky. Lori sat down next to her and pressed her lips together.
“You’re taking this Mark and Becky thing well,” She said, “In fact your taking it a bit too well.” She said, and Ashley shrugged.
“What can I say?” She replied, “I left him, he’s free to date who he wishes.”
“You might be able to fool him,” Lori said, “You can’t fool us. This is bothering you.” Ashley shrugged again.
“I admit, it’s not easy seeing them together.” Ashley said, “But, I refuse to fight with him about it. If we are meant to be together, we’ll find a way back to each other.” Matt shook his head.
“You’re not pretending to be cool with this, because of the deal you made with me?” He said, “Because, honestly, I consider allowing him to stay with that-forgive my french- bitch, equal to hurting him in the long run.” Ashley laughed.
“Some of it was that, but not all of it.” She said, “If you love something let it go, if it comes back it’s yours and that’s how you know.” She recited.
“I love Mark dearly, and I wish nothing more than to be with him for the rest of my life. However, I’d prefer it if he made that choice on his own.” Se said, scratching her forehead. “If I tell him to leave her, he’s not choosing of his own free will, and I’ll always wonder if, maybe he would be happier with her.”
“That makes no sense,” Matt said, “You know he loves you, and you love him.”
“Yet, what if he could love someone else more.” She argued. “Who am I to take that away from him.”
“Well,” Lori said, “If you ever need to vent about this, we’re here for you.” Ashley nodded, she knew, in the end, they’d have her back, they always had her back.
They were sitting in her bedroom in Port City, listening to music. Carrie was sitting on the Window seat, and shaking her head.
“Why would he ever go back with that witch!” She said, “After everything, she’s done to the both of you. What is he thinking?” Ashley shrugged.
“It’s not like there is much choice in Brook Falls, and now Misty is gone too.”
“Yeah,” Carrie said, “But Yucky Becky? It’s got to be a slap in the face for you?” Ashley shrugged again.
“What can I really say about it?” She asked, “I’m the one who told him to move on, and he did. I can’t blame him for that.”
“Are you scared?” She asked, “You know, that he’ll choose her in the end?”
“Honestly,” Ashley said, “I’m terrified. But if he does then at least I know that he and I were not meant to be.”
Carrie nodded, and flipped through the magazine, not saying anything for a moment or two. That was when she changed the topic, at least slightly.
“How’s Larry doing, anyway?” She asked, “Has he moved on yet?”
“Ew, gross, it’s Larry.” Ashley said, “If you miss him, why don’t you just call him and tell him you’ve made a mistake.” Carrie pulled a face.
“I can’t-do that.” She said, “We both agreed it would be better this way, after seeing everything you and Mark are going through, it is better this way.” Ashley sighed and shook her head.
“The relationship between Mark and I has been anything but normal. You shouldn’t base your relationship on our problems.” She said, and Carrie shook her head.
“It’s not just you guys though.” Carrie said, “Long distance relationships rarely work out, and at least you can go to Brook Falls any time you wish. I don’t really have that option.”
“I don’t even understand, why Larry is even staying in Brook Falls. He’s been done school for a while now, what’s keeping him there? He could have easily moved here with you, and you guys wouldn’t have needed to break up at all.”
“Duh,” She said, “It’s you. Do you honestly think he’s ever given up on that? Even when he was with me how many times did he plot against you two trying to break you up? You don’t seriously think he’s given up? And now that Mark is with Becky, I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can to sink his hooks into you.”
“Yuck,” Ashley said pulling a face. “No offense Carrie but I’m so not interested. Larry is like a cousin or brother even. He’s so not dating material and never will be.” She laughed and shook her head.
“No offense taken,” She said, “I already knew Larry wasn’t your type.” Ashley nodded.
“Good,” Ashley said, and both girls started to giggle.
Ashley was nervous about going back to Brook Falls that weekend, after stewing on the Mark and Becky thing all week, she wasn’t sure if she could remain cool about it. However, if she stayed home that weekend it would alert Mark for sure that she hadn’t been completely honest with him about accepting the fact he was dating Becky.
When she arrived, she was expecting not to see him much that weekend, but as it turned out, Becky had some family gathering she couldn’t get away from that weekend, and so Mark would be hanging out with them.
They were playing pool, in the Coates Kitchen, the table was so old now, it was warping and one end had to be propped up even higher with Newspaper. Partners were easier, with Carrie not there, and no one had to sub at all. Lori, even though most of the partners had changed, Lori thought it was only fitting to pair Ashley and Mark.
While Mark stood on one side of the table and Ashley lined up her shot, Randy glanced up.
“Wait,” He said.
“What?” She asked, and Randy tapped his chin.
“Well, I’m just wondering if Mark is safe standing there or if he should seek refuge behind the couch?” He asked, and Ashley smiled and shook her head.
“I’m not going pelt Mark with the balls.” She answered. Mark folded his arms and raised an eyebrow.
“You sure about that?” He asked, “I mean, I’m just fully recovering from the last time.”
“Har, Har!” She laughed. “Very funny, I’m not going to hit you.” He grinned and nodded.
“Okay,” Mark said, “If you say so,” She lined up her shot, pulled back her cue and struck the ball. At that very second, Mark ran out of the way and jumped next to her. She looked up at him and blinked. He shrugged his shoulders, grinned and flashed a wink. “Just being safe.”
“You’re being stupid.” She replied, trying not to laugh. “You just don’t trust me,” Mark smirked and shook his head.
“Okay, okay.” He said, “I’ll prove to you I trust you. I’ll stand down here while you take your shot.” Mark walked to the opposite side of the table. Ashley lined up her shot, pulled back the cue, struck the ball and at that same moment Mark darted out of the way and came to a halt next to her. She glanced at him and blinked again, he had his hands folded behind his back, leaning forward he was fighting back the laughter as he shrugged his shoulders and flashed another wink.
“I can’t help it.” He laughed, she shook her head.
“Keep it up and I’ll purposely hit you with the balls.” She threatened, and he laughed and shook his head.
“You wouldn’t dare!” He said dropping his mouth.
“Try me!” She grinned, and he shook his head.
“You wouldn’t, that would be in violation with your deal with my brother.” He said, and she shook her head.
“How do you figure?” She asked, and he shook his head, the grin not leaving his lips.
“You told my brother, that if you ever hurt me, he could never talk to you again. Hitting me with those balls is technically hurting me. Are you willing to end your friendship with my brother?” He asked, and Ashley glanced at Matt. He grinned, his eyes wrinkling behind the lenses of his glasses.
“Go ahead,” Matt said, “Let him have it, I’ll just pretend I never saw it!” Ashley grinned and gazed back at Mark, who dropped his mouth and glared at his brother.
“What kind of brother are you!” He exclaimed Matt shrugged his shoulders.
“The kind that knows you probably deserve it.” He replied.
“Well fine, whatever. I’ll stand here and not move,” He said, “But you know damn well she’s gonna hit me with the ball anyway.”
“Probably,” Matt said, in an uncaring voice. Ashley smirked, lined up the shot, pulled back the cue, struck the ball, it hit the second ball with such a force the ball popped off the table and zoomed toward Mark, who reached out and caught it with his hand, his jaw dropped.
“I didn’t think you’d actually do it!” He exclaimed, “I was only joking!” Ashley was cracking up laughing, by now.
“I didn’t mean to.” She said, and Mark cupped his ear.
“What was that?” He asked.
“I didn’t mean to.” She repeated, and Mark shook his head.
“I couldn’t catch that.” He said and ran toward her, she ran to the other side of the table.
“I didn’t mean to.” She laughed again, he ran in her direction again.
“I still can’t hear you.” He said, as he came in close she dodged and ran the other way, laughing as she did.
“I didn’t mean to.” She laughed out again, as he ran toward her. She attempted to dodge him again but Randy stepped out in front of her blocking her path. The next thing she knew, Mark tackled her to the floor and started tickling her like crazy.
“What was that?” He asked, and she laughed madly.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She shouted, and he laughed.
“That’s what I thought you said.” He replied, and he continued to tickle her as she laughed out madly, the others sat watching, shaking their heads. There was one thing they saw that day, Mark and Ashley still loved each other as much as they always had. These two belonged together, and they could only hope that one day soon they’d figure it out before it was too late.
Ashley didn’t dwell on the events of the night before, but she did think about it. She got up that morning and got ready to head out to meet the others. Cheryl was waiting for her at the kitchen table.
“Ashley,” She said, “Could I talk to you a minute.” Ashley nodded and sat down across from her.
“What’s up?” She asked, and Cheryl sighed.
“For as long as I can remember, you and that Thomas boy have been inseparable. From what I gather, you even love each other. Yet, I can’t help but notice you and him aren’t together. From what I can tell, you are standing back and letting him be with that Hicks girl. Take it from someone who knows, don’t turn your back on love, because one of these days it will be too late, and you’ll be looking back regretting the choices you made that lead you to that moment.” She said, and Ashley shrugged.
“I don’t regret my choices Aunt Cheryl,” She said, “I believe everything happens for a reason. If Mark and I are meant to be together, we’ll find our way back to each other.”
“You choose to leave your entire life up to fate?” She asked, and Ashley nodded.
“Yeah,” She replied, “Fate’s never wrong.”
“That could very well be,” She replied, “But what if the story fate has in store for you is not the one you’re expecting to be told?”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Ashley said, and Cheryl sighed.
“The only true writer of one’s fate,” Cheryl said, “Is oneself.” Ashley left that kitchen that morning, unsure of what Cheryl was trying to tell her, and yet those words would echo in her mind for many years. If only she had taken the advice when she had the chance to, perhaps events would have unfolded on a much different path.
She was still confused when she met up with the others, and the first one to notice her confusion was him.
“You okay?” He asked, and she nodded.
“Yeah,” She replied, “Of course.” He frowned and shook his head.
“Are you sure about that?” He asked, “Because you look troubled by something.”
“It’s nothing,” She answered, “Just something my aunt said to me this morning, I’m not exactly sure what it meant is all.”
“What did she say?” Mark asked, and Ashley sighed.
“She said, ’The only true writer of one’s fate, is oneself.’” She answered, and Mark’s eye’s grown wide.
“That sounds deep,” He answered, nodding his head, “I can see the confusion.” Ashley nodded.
“I’m guessing you don’t know what it means either?” She asked, and he shrugged.
“If I knew the subject, I might be able to figure it out.” He said, and for a moment, she wanted to tell him. But, just for a moment before she remembered her decision. Mark wasn’t with her, Mark was with Becky, and if she revealed the subject of the conversation with her aunt. Mark would know that Ashley had lied, that him being with Becky bothered her, that Ashley wished they were still together.
She didn’t want Mark knowing any of that. Because, if Mark left Becky, she wanted him to do so because he wanted to, and not because he felt he needed to.
“It’s not important,” She said to him, “Don’t worry about it.”
At that moment, Larry popped the hood of the Corolla, and the boys gathered around that engine. The moment that happened Lori and Ashley was dead to them.
Lori sat down next to Ashley, where Mark was sitting only moments before that.
“He’d leave her in a heartbeat if you told him the truth.” She said, and Ashley nodded.
“I know,” She replied, and Lori shook her head.
“Then why are you torturing yourself with this?” She asked and Ashley shrugged.
“I’ve told you,” She said, “He needs to choose himself. It’s the only way I’ll know for sure.”
“Mark is a guy Ashley,” Lori said, “They don’t see things the same way. If you tell him that you don’t want to be with him, and you’re fine with him being with her, he’s going to believe that. He might never figure it out, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you more.”
“I have to have faith that he will see it.” She replied, and Lori sighed.
“Why does it matter so much?” Lori asked, “You know he loves you.”
“I know,” She replied, “But what if he loves her more?” Lori shook her head.
“You know that will never happen.” Lori said, “Make your move, before something happens and it’s too late.”
“If he never changes his mind, if something happens, then we were never meant to be together.” She said and Lori sighed.
“Maybe,” She replied. “Or, you are meant to be together, and you keep putting it off and then something big happens that changes everything and comes between you. Then, you’ll never be able to be together, and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
What Lori was saying made sense, it even sounded as if she’d heard those same words somewhere before, but she couldn’t figure out where she might have heard them. The boys remained enthused with that engine, and Ashley did the only thing she could think of to gain some attention again. She walked over to them and started asking stupid engine related questions.
Mark glared at her and shook his head.
“Since when were you into cars?” He asked, and she narrowed her eyes and shook her head.
“Since now!” She answered, and Mark, with his hands on his hips, shook his head.
“I don’t believe that,” He said, and she laughed.
“Well believe it,” She told him, and he nodded.
“Alright, if you’re so into cars, then you won’t mind if I get this grease all over your jacket.” He said and brought his greasy hands up in front of him. She laughed and tried to pull back from him. But, he tackled her to the ground and rubbed his hands off all over her jacket, and face. Ashley laughed, as he did, and he laughed along with her.
Mark ruined her jacket that day, but she didn’t care. It was a memory that Ashley held dear into her heart, the last memory before the fairy tale shattered into a million shards of reality.
It was nightfall, and she was running through yards and over fences in Brook Falls. He was chasing behind her and the first time in her life she feared him. He was shouting her name as he caulked the shotgun.
Her heart was racing, she had to stay away from him, she could feel the impending danger, each time her feet hit the ground.
Boom, Boom, Boom
She began to panic, he was gaining on her, and then suddenly; nothing.
Curious, she stopped turning around to see where he went, he couldn’t be far, could he?
That’s when he jumped out behind her, laughing evil as he points the shotgun down at her foot and pulled the trigger.
She shouted out in pain and fell to the ground. As she clenched her wounded foot, the blood of crimson red flowed onto the pure white snow.
Shocked by what he’d done, he dropped the shotgun at his side and dropped to his knees in front of her. He gazed into her eyes, with tears streaming down his face.
“What have I done?” He asked, and pulling bandages out of his pocket he began to dress her wound. As he done this he continued to mumble. “I’m so sorry, I never meant for this to happen, Ash, I never meant to hurt you, not like this.”
The last thing she saw was the hurt beneath his own eyes, a twisted torturing pain as if him shooting her in the foot with that shotgun was something she would never forgive him for. The next thing she knew, she was sitting up in bed, a cold sweat beaded on her forward, shouting his name.
She glanced at the clock, which read 4:35 AM, and sighed, realizing it was only a dream, well more like the dream. She has been dreaming the same thing for the last few weeks. It was always the same, never changing and it was always Mark chasing her with that shotgun.
She had no idea, what the dream meant, but because it was reoccurring she was sure that it meant something. She snapped on her light and wrote:
I had the dream again-no not dream more like a nightmare. I’ve been having it often, it’s always the same. Mark’s chasing after me through Brook Falls and I’m terrified because Mark has a shotgun and I know if he catches me he’s going to shoot me.
I do my best to stay away from him, but I eventually fail, and Mark shoots me in the foot. It’s so real that I feel the pain, and see the color of the crimson blood as it stains the purity of the snow. That’s when thing’s to get weird, Mark sees what he does and begins to cry as he tends my wounds, an attempt to make it better, and yet the entire time he’s muttering apologies and stating that he never meant it.
The dream worries me, it’s been happening so often that I fear it means I’m about to lose him. That maybe he’ll actually choose to stay with Becky, despite everything.
Of course, it would make sense of that’s what it means, I fear that every day. It’s not easy pretending to be okay as I watch him be with someone else, but I can’t let him know it bothers me. If Mark leaves her to be with me, I want him to make that choice on his own, and not because he thinks he has to.
The others think I’m crazy, that I should tell him how I really feel, but it’s like Mark told me once before, they will never completely understand our relationship. Mark and I have been in love with each other since we were children. There hasn’t really ever been anyone else in our lives. I need to make sure that there isn’t someone out there that Mark might love more to me, call me selfish, but I need to know that I will forever be his one and only.
She finished the entry, closed her book, turned out the light, and laying back down she drifted off to sleep.
Every night, the rest of that week she was plagued by the same dream, and it was really starting to bother her. The more she had the dream, the longer it took her to fall back to sleep after. It didn’t take long before she was only sleeping in fifteen-minute intervals, which left her sleep-deprived throughout the day.
By the time Friday came, and she arrived in Brook Falls, she figured that she looked a lot like the living dead, and thanks to Lori and her growing concern, that fear was confirmed.
“Ashley,” She gasped, “Is everything okay? You look like hell.” Ashley glared at her and rolled her eyes.
“Geez,” She snapped, “Thanks, Lori, that’s exactly what I needed to hear.”
“You’re having trouble sleeping because of this Mark situation, aren’t you?” Lori asked and Ashley shook her head as the girls sat down on the bench, that was built onto the Carson porch.
“No,” She said and pulled a face. “Not exactly..no.. at least I don’t think.” Lori pulled her lips into a frown.
“What’s going on?” Lori asked, and Ashley closed her eyes and shook her head.
“I keep having this dream, it’s probably nothing,” She sighed, “Mark keeps chasing me around Brook Falls with this shotgun, eventually shoots me and tries to fix it. I know it must mean something, I just don’t know what it is.” Lori pouted.
“Maybe it’s just reminding you that you’ve been in this situation before. It could also be saying that Mark’s about to wise up and chase after you again.” She says, “Your nightmare is a frightening fear, dreams usually are never what they seem. A negative dream like that, has to be something positive, doesn’t it? Isn’t that the rule?” Ashley shrugged, she had a gut feeling that wasn’t the meaning of her dream and she felt whatever the message was behind that dream it was anything but positive.
She was plagued with the same nightmare, both Friday and Saturday night.
Church the following morning was challenging, it was the one place Ashley had to be in the same place as Mark and Becky together. If they were actors, Ashley would have won an award for best performance, she was that convincing when it came to her accepting their relationship.
When they were leaving the church, Matt leaned in close to Ashley and whispered in her ear.
“You nearly had me convinced that you didn’t give a rats ass they were together.” He said, and this made her happy because if people who knew the truth were convinced by that act, Mark certainly didn’t have a clue.
When Ashley headed back home, she hoped that after seeing him, the dream might go away, but no such luck. In fact, it felt as if seeing him only triggered the dream. Now, she was having it more than once, in fact, the nightmare haunted her every time she closed her eyes.
That Wednesday, she was at her grandmother’s, and because she’d been so tired, Ashley drifted off on the couch.
Suddenly, she sprung up in bed, and her eyes popped open.
“Mark!” She shouted, and her aunt Stacy, who was sitting in the rocking chair at the end of the couch looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
“What’s wrong with you?” She asked, and frustrated, Ashley explained the reoccurring nightmare. Her aunt Stacy listened to every word, and when Ashley was finished, Stacy sighed.
“Well,” She said, “I know what that dream is, but I can promise you it won’t make sense and you might not like the meaning.” Ashley licked her lips.
“Tell me, what does it mean?” She asked, and Stacy sighed again.
“Well,” She said again. “Keep in mind that the dream only predicts what’s going to happen and not the situation or people involved.” Ashley sighed.
“Aunt Stacy,” She pleaded, “Stop beating around the bush. What does it mean?”
“Shotgun wedding.” She said, and Ashley raised an eyebrow.
“What?” She asked in confusion.
“It means there is going to be a shotgun wedding.” She said again, and Ashley licked her lips and shook her head.
“What’s a shotgun wedding?” She asked and Stacy sighed.
“It’s a very old custom,” She said, “It’s marriage forced by pregnancy.”Ashley narrowed her eyes in confusion.
“There has to be another meaning for this dream,” She sighed, “That just doesn’t make sense.”
After Stacy told her interruption of the nightmare, Ashley was able to sleep peacefully once more.