25 | Ashley's Asylum

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6 weeks later

Ashley paused her workout music as she recognised the sound of someone at the door. Wiping her sweaty forehead on the back of her arm she jogged through the house to an insistent knocking; Ben and Kate were at work and she was trying her best not to avoid answering the door. Ever since the police-watch outside her home was reassigned Ashley had struggled to be alone but her confidence was a work in progress; exercising had helped a great deal (at least that's what she told herself.)

When she opened her door on the chub chain the last person she expected to see was Adrian.

He grinned at her through the crack in the door and gestured to his rucksack.

"I've come prepared" he boasted instantly before shrugging his bag off of his shoulder to pull out a DVD. "I've got Bridget Jones and ice cream in my bag."

Ashley stared at him oddly. She hadn't seen him since she went missing but they'd been in contact on the phone. Slowly she removed the chain and opened the door fully.

"Okay..." she said uncertainly, dragging out the word.

Adrian placed a sassy hand upon his hip at her attitude. "If a girl doesn't feel the need for ice cream and BJ after any trauma, is she even a girl?"

Ashley folded her arms at his sass. "Last I checked, I was still a girl" she mused.

"And last I checked you were kinda kidnapped so..." He shook the DVD pointedly.

Ashley had to glance away to hide a soft smile. She stepped aside to let him in.

"No Tim?" She quizzed sarcastically, hinting at the last unannounced house visit he'd committed to.

Adrian kicked his shoes off and slung his bag back over his shoulder. "Do you really want stalker boy turning up on your doorstep again?"

Ashley grinned, "I s'pose not."

Adrian scratched the back of his head awkwardly as Ashley led them into the kitchen.

"Actually," he began hesitantly. "Tim's sort of gone walkabouts ever since Bane broke out."

Ashley nodded, trying her best to seem surprised. "Maybe he's afraid Bane will come for him?" She offered.

Adrian did his fake smile. "Yeah," he murmured unconvincingly. "Maybe."

Ashley reflected on the past few weeks as Adrian made himself at home and searched for clean spoons for the ice cream.

Dale-Creek Hill was no longer deemed a safe facility and had gradually transferred prisoners out one at a time so that it could close down. Jonathan Bane had been a prisoner/patient whilst Ashley worked there and his prison transport was ambushed one and a half weeks ago enabling him to escape. It was all over the news which was a form of relief for Ashley considering the media had been eating her story for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the bad side was the fact another serial kidnapper and murderer was loose. The Dale-Creek Hill Asylum was now up to it nostrils in scandal and everyone was feeling the burn of a media magnifying glass.

As soon as the news of Bane's escape reached her, Ashley half expected Timothy to disappear. He was just as wrapped up with Bane at the Asylum as she had been with Sam and Michael. It wouldn't take a stretch to imagine Tim had something to do with Bane's escape but she didn't like to assume considering she had been accused of the same thing with her own patients. Of course, Timothy and Bane weren't related which he had on his side or maybe they were, nothing would surprise her anymore.

"I hear you and Karl aren't having a great time," Adrian said which brought her back into the room.

Ashley barely resisted rolling her eyes. Could it be Karl had sent Adrian to fight his battles for him? That guy could be so frustrating sometimes! Their relationship hadn't improved as time went on if anything it had grown stagnant. She leant back against a kitchen cabinet and folded her arms in a huff.

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