An Angel's Fix Pt. 01byphotodad©
While this was written to be a standalone story, it is recommended to read Angels and Guardians found at literotica.com/s/angels-and-guardians-pt-01 first to see where the characters come from.
Where could he be?
"Tyler!" Ashley called for the hundredth time while crashing through the unfamiliar woods.
Damn that boy for wandering off. She had turned her back for a second, and her adopted son was gone. Just like that and without any clue. And, where the fuck was Joe? You'd think a father would be searching something mad for his lost child. Ashley picked her way through the uncomfortable sticks and thought about that for a second. Really! Where WAS Joe? Actually, why did she turn her back at all? She couldn't remember, and it didn't matter right now. She had to find Tyler at all costs.
Suddenly, well rather instantaneously, she found herself in an open field with lush green grass dotted with dandelions. The sun was so nice and warm, and the ground was so inviting. She was tired, exhausted really. Next thing she knew, she was lying in the middle of the field, her red hair splayed out like a halo contrasting beautifully against the emerald green of the soft grass. Ashley closed her eyes and enjoyed the sun's rays on her face. It felt as if she were laying on the center of a merry-go-round, the trees spinning past at the edge of her vision. Ugh, it made her lightheaded and feeling sick. That sensation seemed recently familiar somehow. She closed her eyes to shut out the nauseous spinning. Someone distant, yet strangely nearby was calling her name. Oh, for Pete's sake! Ashley reluctantly started opening her eyes.
"Ashley!" came the sharp call.
The young authoritative feminine voice could only belong to Jill, one of her best friends. But that couldn't be, she wasn't with Ashley or Tyler when all this happened. Jesus! How long was she out? Long enough for them to come looking for her?
"Ashley! Wake up! Enough playing around." The voice was insistent.
"Fine. I'm getting up. Hang on a second," she mumbled in reply.
Try as she might, she just couldn't move. Now, why was that? And for the life of her, she couldn't open her eyes.
"Don't go to the light!" Another girl's voice giggled. Ashley recognized it belonged to Kim, another best friend.
"Shut up!" hissed the first voice. "This isn't funny anymore. Joe! Call the ambulance!"
"Why an ambulance? Is Tyler hurt?" Ashley asked as her eyes finally allowed themselves to open.
Whoa! She did NOT expect this scenery. Ashley found herself sitting on the couch, kind of propped up between the back cushion and the arm rest. Oh, but the view was so familiar. The TV projection on the wall, the other two sofas on either side facing this one. The stone floor that met the massive sliding glass wall that opened to the richly landscaped pool and back yard. She knew that this was Joe's parents' house. His dead parents' house. But that's not what was befuddling her. What confused her was how she got HERE from that calming field. She wanted to turn and look around the expansive media room, and as she started to, she got dizzy and thought better of it. God, she was so confused. Her lips and tongue were numb, her head was swimming, and her limbs still didn't want to respond to the messages her brain was sending. Her hand held something cold and sweaty, so she glanced down at it and found the clear Corona bottle mostly drained of its amber liquid. Surrounding her were the people she loved most. There was Jill and Kim. Cindy, Joe's personal assistant, and her new boyfriend. The question of where Joe, her husband, was answered very quickly when he stepped in front of her and placed a cool damp towel on her forehead.
Ashley's panic returned. "Joe! Tyler's missing. You gotta go lost him!"
She inwardly questioned why her words were coming out wrong.
"I mean, he's here. Gone. He's losht. Find him, you gotta." Ugh, why was this so hard?
"Who's Tyler, sweetie?" he asked. "Is Tyler a dog?"
"Oooh...a DOG! Can we get one?"
Joe shook his head as he turned to Kim and Jill. "Good lord, girls. How many did she have?"
Kim glanced at the coffee table where there were three empty bottles that matched the one in Ashley's hand. "She's a featherweight," she giggled.
"I guess so," Joe grumbled. "You're not far behind her, it seems."
Kim looked around the room in her cute and disarming way.
"Baby, focus. Who is Tyler?"
Ashley sighed as she made a concerted effort to focus her vision on her lover. "Our son...well, Jasmine's son. He's lost in the woods. Why doesn't this concern any of you?!"
The group looked at each other in total confusion. Kim snickered, "since when do you have a son?"
Ashley trained her focus on Kim in disbelief. "Since Jasmine...you know...died."
"I DID WHAT?!"
Ashley spun around toward the new voice. That was a bad move and it made her head swim faster. Her face contorted into a new definition of confusion. "Jasmine? What? I don't get it. How did you get here?"
Jasmine stepped around the sofa and knelt in front of Ashley, patting her knee. "You drove me here after the concert. Boy, no more booze for you!"
Jasmine shrieked in surprise when Ashley snapped her up from the floor and pulled her into her lap for an excruciatingly tight embrace.
"You're alive! Oh my God Jasmine! Thank God you're alive!" Tears fell from Ashley's eyes in pure happiness.
"Of course I am," Jasmine mumbled in confusion against her friend's shoulder. "I can't breathe, sweetie."
Ashley eased up just a bit. "I'm so happy, you just don't even know." She let go of the girl and just stared to admire the pretty face.
"I'll say you're happy. You're downright blitzed!" Jasmine retorted. She was rewarded by Ashley grabbing the collar of her t-shirt and yanking her nose to nose.
"You gotta promise me something!"
"Anything to get your stank ass breath away from me..."
"Promise me you won't get pregnant!"
Jasmine was taken aback. "What?! Why would I promise you that? I won't get pregnant any time soon..."
"No! Ever! I'll do anything you want...I'll fuck your brains out twice a day to keep you satisfied, if that's what it takes. Just promise me!"
The group before her became very concerned, and Joe gently removed Jasmine from Ashley's clutches. "Ash, honey. What's wrong? Why are you like this suddenly?"
"Joe! Jasmine, I'll lend you Joe from time to time. I know we won't leave you if you happen to carry his baby. At least promise me that he'll be the only guy you screw! Joe, sweet husband of mine, you won't mind if I let her borrow you?"
Joe shook his head. "I'm not your husband. At least not yet. Baby, what is wrong? Why are you like this?"
Just then the walls started tumbling end over end for Ashley. She jumped up, knocking Jasmine back on her ass. "I gotta get to the bathroom," she rushed before stumbling for the half-bath off the kitchen.
Cindy put her arms out to stop the others from following Ashley. "I'll make sure she's okay," she said.
They reappeared a few minutes later with Ashley sans bottoms. Cindy steadied her going up the open staircase. "Ashley's going to bed, I'll be right back down," she called down to the staring group.
When Cindy came back down, she was hounded for information, but she just said that Ashley was drunk, obviously, and that's why she was so confused. She urged them to enjoy the rest of the party.
* * *
Ashley pulled on some shorts, and slowly made her way down the stairs. Her brain was afflicted with a hammering headache, and the sun pouring through the windows was just too "loud." The media room looked like Jonestown -- The Morning After. Cindy was draped across one sofa, her boyfriend snoozed on another. Jill, Kim, and Jasmine littered the large ornamental rug in various stages of undress. The coffee table was burdened with empty bottles of random imbibment.
"Good morning," Joe greeted her as she shuffled into the kitchen. "Or, rather, afternoon. Still drunk, are you?"
"Oh God," she mumbled as she weakly perched herself on a stool. "Hey! Not so loud!" Ashley protested when Joe placed a fresh mug of coffee on the counter before her.
"Heh, hung over and drunk. Quite a combination."
She slit her eyes at him as she took a sip. "Don't start."
"Well, you missed a hell of a party."
"Why aren't you still sleeping?"
"Someone had to stay sober to make sure you girls didn't do anything stupid. That plan didn't work out so well with you, sorry to say."
Ashley turned her head to the side and blew out a sigh of frustration. "Joe, last night I..."
"Eh, save it for later, when you smarten up." He grinned at her.
Ashley propped her elbows on the counter and buried her aching head in her hands. "I think I went past the tipsy point."
"You pretty much gave that checkpoint the bird as you sped past, Ashley."
"God this sucks," she mumbled.
"Gonna suck worse tonight at the graduation party your parents are throwing."
She groaned. "I forgot about that."
"I can call them and say you ate something bad. We can do it tomorrow."
Her neck ached when she rocked her head back and forth. "Can't do it tomorrow. I have a wedding." She took another slow sip of her hot brew. Joe knew exactly how she liked it -- a dash of coffee to go with her cream and sugar. "But still, Mom and Dad can't see me like this."
"Well, Ash, you're living here, sleeping with me and all but one of the girls in that other room. I'd say them seeing an under-aged hangover is about the safest secret to reveal."
Ashley thought about the blunt truth he just dangled out there. His parents had taken her in last fall when she left home after a fight about the bruise left on her face by her former boyfriend. She certainly was sleeping with him, every night that she was well, in fact. As for her other three friends, it wasn't ever planned on how it all started, but the emotional connection with them prevented her from stopping. Ashley would stop in a heartbeat if Joe ever asked her to, but he hadn't so far. In fact, if he sensed she was in the mood for some female love with one of her friends, he would fade himself into the background to allow things to happen. Perhaps he didn't get jealous because her other lovers were NOT male. Of course, Ashley was sure that he appreciated having scantily clad beauties prancing about his home. Now thinking about it, Ashley felt that he was being cheated. He had slept with all the girls who were currently there at one point or another, save Cindy.
Cindy had been his parents' secretary for six years or so, ever since they recruited her straight out of high school. His dad was well-known for picking talent, but he was proudest of acquiring Cindy. Young, energetic, and highly intelligent, she kept the company on the rails after her bosses' deaths while she brought Joe fully up to speed. Being seven years older than the 18 year old Joe, they never thought of each other as being compatible.
Ashley supposed Jasmine could be counted in the "Joe hasn't slept with" category, although not technically. The two never dated, unlike the others, and they only got physical once when Ashley prodded Jasmine last fall to sample his bedroom talents. Indeed she loved each of her female friends, almost as much as she loved Joe.
She shook her head to focus her thoughts back to Joe. He was wonderful. Even though there was sexual and emotional history with Jill and Kim, he hadn't touched them since he and Ashley had gotten serious about each other. That's what she felt bad about. She could play with her friends whenever she wanted and without reprisal, but his playtime was reserved to her. Maybe that was why she freely offered Joe to Jasmine last night.
Oh yeah, last night. Did that really happen? Did she really say those things in front of Cindy's new boyfriend? She had to find out.
"So Jasmine is really alive?" she ventured.
Joe rolled his eyes. "Yup, the naked one on the rug in there," he nodded toward the next room.
"And we're not married?"
"Can I have kids?"
He sighed mightily at that one. "No, you're still as barren as the Sahara." He had made a point early on that he wouldn't tiptoe around that issue. Oddly, Ashley loved that he was blunt whenever he talked with her about it. "What is with you?"
Damn, that last part WAS still true. She cringed as she asked, "What happened to me last night? I just remember waking up and finding out that everything I believed in my heart hadn't happened. At least, not yet. That, and throwing up while thoroughly peeing my panties in front of Cindy, which at the time felt amazing...well, not the puking part. Oh my God! My panties..." She started for the half bath.
He came over, caught her arm and put her back in the stool. He rested on the one next to her. "Relax, I took care of that this morning. Boy your thoughts are scattered! Glad you weren't like this on stage last night. They're in the wash, the floor is mopped up, so your secret is safe with me. And, you know Cindy won't say anything either." Joe looked into her eyes, his face filled with compassion and concern. "Last night, we came home after your Project Graduation concert. Cindy had bought you all a bunch of alcohol to celebrate and had it ready. You downed four of your Coronas like they were water, and collapsed on the couch. You were out for a bit and talking in your sleep. We were worried and I almost called the ambulance before you woke up, spouting all this weird nonsense."
Ashley stared thoughtfully into her coffee before taking another sip. "I feel so much like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. It was so real, I feel like I KNOW that it happened. I guess I was dreaming. How long was I out?"
"About 20 minutes."
"It felt like a lifetime."
Just then, the others had awakened from their drinking comas and shuffled into the kitchen while rearranging their clothes. The girls hugged Ashley from behind, congratulating her again on graduating. For Ashley, it was a bigger deal to have her diploma than the others, because her absences last fall had thrown her graduation into doubt for so long. Her renewed dedication in the spring had helped nudge the state school board into granting her an exception.
Jasmine's embrace still seemed awkward to her though. In Ashley's mind, she should have been dead. Instead, here she was, saying, "Good to see you better, Lil' Bit."
Ashley lifted her mug. "The coffee helped."
As they all fixed their own cups, Joe said, "Ashley was about to reveal her trip down the yellow brick road. Weren't you?"
"Gee, so nice of you to shove me off the cliff, Joe." She paused to gather her thoughts. "This is so embarrassing, now that I know none of it happened. Please keep in mind that I don't wish any of it upon any of you, unless that is what makes you happy."
"Well, get on with it," prompted Jasmine. Surprising, since hers was the most gloomy future.
The group of friends listened intently as Ashley went through her story. She started off with Jasmine working for a record label to design CD covers (which she actually was), but then got pregnant from a one-night stand in the summer. Her delivery developed an unexplained complication, and Jasmine perished. Ashley and Joe adopted the baby, and both worked their schedules to lovingly care for Tyler. Kim worked for Ashley, assisting her with concert schedules and so on, while Joe followed a passion different than being the football god he was this past year. At that point she asked him if he was playing in the fall, and he reminded her that he had decided not to. Ashley was still confusing the dream and reality on some points, but nodded and continued to say that Joe opened a restaurant that was college student-friendly.
She looked at Cindy and Jill with pride, and said that they had started a non-profit organization to assist girls, from high school through college, in all manners that could trouble them. She told Jill that she had become not only a lawyer, but a respected cabinet member for the governor. As for herself, she completed college through mostly correspondence. She was going to leave things at that, but the group pressed her to reveal what her career was. Sheepishly, she said that she was a successful music performer.
"So, a rock star," prompted Kim.
Ashley affected a small grin. "I guess you could say that." She looked at Jasmine who was staring her down. "Sweetie, I am so sorry. I have no idea why you ended up that way in my dream. I can tell you that it absolutely devastated me." She saw Jasmine blink away a couple of tears, and it broke her heart. "I swear I don't want that to happen to you."
"You adopted my son?"
"Yes. I mean, in the dream, your parents were beside themselves trying to cope with your passing, and they didn't know how they would care for..."
Jasmine shook her head slowly. "They're getting old, and I know first hand that they're terrible parents." She made her way to hug Ashley tightly. "It means the world to me that you would do such a thing."
"You're not mad?"
"No! You can't have kids of your own. It makes sense... well, it fits so well in the universe that you should have my child. I know that you took excellent care of him."
Ashley looked at her when she eased out of the embrace. "How do you know that?"
"At the time, we couldn't understand why you kept mumbling 'Tyler' in your sleep. It's obvious now why you were so concerned with that name."
"It was a dream, thankfully. So, will you keep a promise not to get stupid and get pregnant? The promise that I made last night would still stand."
Jasmine had a twinkle in her eye. "If Joe will let you keep your promise to satisfy me, I'll promise to not sleep around, is that good enough?"
Ashley nodded resigned to the notion that it would have to do.
Cindy had told her boyfriend, Doug, snippets about the strange and intense web spun through these girls and Joe. However, it was still difficult to wrap his mind around it. The openly sexual overtones in their conversations embarrassed him a bit, especially since he considered himself still an outsider to this group. When Cindy urged him to come along to the graduation party, he expected the usual obnoxious behavior associated with underage drinking. He even helped Cindy pick the drinks up from the store. But instead, he was witness to something that just could not be understood at first glance. For one thing, this group was much more mature than the stereotypical band of teens...at least in their interactions with each other. Each seemed to hold a high level of respect for the other. Cindy attributed that to the difficult adolescences each of these girls went through. Joe had a penchant for playing the role of the knight in shining armor when he chose to befriend them. Because of his family's wealth, he was able to sling a protective arm around each of them. Once together, the girls were emotional pillars for each other in areas he couldn't understand as a male.
So, even after being warned, Doug was still surprised by the behavior last night. Sure, they were all happy and having a good time, right up to when Ashley passed out. But, the underlying strength of love between them all reminded him of family, even if it was a bit twisted when compared to traditional views of what "family" means. Joe was definitely the patriarch. Even though he was 18, Joe was the one they all looked to for guidance and protection. His maturity was unmatched for someone his age, no doubt a result of dealing with his parents' recent sudden demise and his inheritance of their venerable company.
If Joe was the father, then Jill was the mother-figure. She nurtured and cared for the others, sometimes carrying an authoritative stance when she scolded them as needed. She and Joe had a profound friendship, lasting through and after their failed romance a few years ago. Even though they were no longer sexually tied, they had in effect a partnership with each other in seeing to the needs of their group.