The Haunting of Ashton David

Copyright © 2014 by Gina Watson
Whiskey Cove Publishing

ISBN-13: 978-1-941059-20-3

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1

“Harmony, Ashton’s waiting! Get your butt down here already!” Her brother hollered from downstairs.

Mom placed the last pin in her hair, and then she stood in front of the mirror to check her look.

“You look beautiful, darling.” Her mother kissed her cheek, careful not to muss her hair.

“I can’t believe I’m attending junior prom.”

“I attended junior prom with your father when I was just a freshman. Just think you’ll get to go all four years.”

Harmony smiled. “I’d like that.”

Mom cleared her throat. “Your father and I talked. Despite our advanced age we know a thing or two about what goes on at prom and the after party. We’d like for you to use these.”

From her pocket she produced an assortment of condoms. “Oh my God, Mom! I don’t need those!”

“Now, now. I’ll just place them in your bag in case a situation pops up.” She giggled.

“Nothing’s going to be popping up.”

“Okay, darling. The men are waiting. Shall we?”

Harmony descended the stairs carefully as she was prone to falling—her grace and coordination was akin to a football player standing in for the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The copper chiffon dress whispered as her knees and legs traversed the stairs. The dress was strapless and trimmed in a faint gold ribbon with a bow around her waist. She felt feminine, even if she was a little wobbly in her heels. The shoes were precarious however and she tripped over her feet on the last stair, toppling into the arms of her lover—Ashton Benjamin David.

He stood her upright, kissed her lips, and said, “You’re so beautiful. I love how you can’t wait to be in my arms.”

Harmony shyly giggled as her father, mother, and brother watched the scene playing out before them.

“The copper brings out the honey in your eyes.” From the periphery, Harmony saw the moment her mother waved her tears away with a Kleenex. Ashton’s words flowed freely and could be as sweet as honey.

He retrieved a corsage from the console table. “A cream colored hydrangea with a copper ribbon. A beautiful delicate flower for my beautiful delicate lady.” He stretched the elastic over her wrist—hydrangeas he knew were her favorite flower. “You’re perfection.” He turned her hand and placed a tender kiss on her wrist.

***

Harmony and Ashton ran out to the waiting prom limousine. With a handful of their friends already coupled off space was limited, but the couple didn’t mind. Ashton took the bucket seat he’d previously claimed and pulled Harmony onto his lap. Couples around them had already started to heavily make out, but Ashton wouldn’t touch her like that in public because he wanted no one else to experience her heightened color or her swollen lips or the way her breasts shifted when her breathing increased. He’d say that was all for him and for no one else to see, so instead of rounding third base in the limo, he kissed her sweetly on the cheek and laced his fingers in hers.

At the last stop Elizabeth Myers and her boyfriend boarded the limo. Since all of the seating was taken they sat on the floor next to Ashton and Harmony. Elizabeth had worn a strapless dress without a brassiere and the view from above went all the way to her nipples. Given her triple D breast size, he thought the look was just pathetic.

Ashton didn’t mention it because he didn’t want to upset Harmony on their special night, but Liz was fond of placing her hands on him. Currently her fingers were massaging up his calf. Unfortunately for Liz, Ashton only had eyes for his girl.

At the dance he continued to fight off the eager advances of one Elizabeth Myers, along with the ruler Sister Hawthorne used to measure the distance between the dancers. She’d say to leave room for the Holy Ghost, but whenever she turned her back, Ashton pulled
Monet
close.

The nickname was something he’d come up with after they’d spent time in France. His parents kept a villa in the small town of Giverny where the French artist had lived. Last summer, Harmony had traveled with his family and he’d been able to show her the works of the impressionist painter Claude Monet. The artist’s landscape work was beautiful and intricately detailed, like his girl, so he thought it a fitting nickname. Additionally, when her name was said slowly the name Monet could be heard—Har
mony
.

At the prom’s culmination their friends piled into the limo to migrate to a rented beach cabin on the Mississippi coast. That was all well and good, but at fifteen, Monet was two years younger than him and that was not the place for her. No way would he ever take her there, even if she were of legal age. The couple waved goodbye to their friends as they held one another close.

“Come on.” He pulled her along and she skipped behind him.

“Where are we going?”

“I parked my truck up here earlier today.” Against the truck he placed a chaste kiss on her lips. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”

“Oh? What?”

Her dimpled smile cut through him whenever she flashed it. He’d give his life for her, and anything else she desired. So far he didn’t think she was aware of the power she wielded over him.

He drove them deep into the estate to a little out-of-the-way cottage and killed the engine. “It was the dwelling of the land foreman in the early nineteenth century. I’ve cleaned it up so that we can stay here tonight. I even got a generator to run a VCR and a microwave. I’ve got your favorite movie.” He smiled.

“You bought
Dirty Dancing
? You hate that movie.”

“I want to spend the evening with you. Your mom gave me a change of your clothes and other girly stuff.” He reached over the seat and pulled her travel bag out.

She examined the cottage through the windshield. “Ash, this is like a fairytale. I feel like a princess.”

“You are a princess.”

***

“That’s the best ending.” Harmony swiped at a tear that landed on her cheek.

“I’ll take your word for it. I like it because you like it. That’s all.”

He pulled more Bugles from the box and filled them with squirt cheese. They sat on a spread blanket with tons of throw pillows piled high all around.

While she snacked on his offering he put his favorite movie into the VCR.
Don’t You (Forget About Me)
trickled through the television speakers and Ashton’s head bobbed with the beat.

As his back went down toward the blanket he grabbed her, throwing her on top of him. They laughed when they landed in a sea of plush pillows. The mood turned serious when their lips came together.

A certain amount of making out was to be expected; after all, it was prom night, but Ashton always treated her with reverence and honor and expressed a desire for them to wait.

The kiss turned heated and his hands started caressing the peaks and valleys of her body. He broke their connection and sat up. “I need a distraction before I take things too far.”

Standing on her knees behind him she placed her hand on his shoulder. “Are you disappointed you aren’t getting sex tonight?”

“What?” He pulled her by the hand across his lap. “I’m having a blast just being alone with you here tonight. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, I just thought if you were with one of the seventeen-year-olds you’d probably be getting sex.”

His palm caressed her cheek. “I don’t want one of the seventeen-year-olds. I want you. We’ve been best friends since we were kids. I love you, Monet.”

“I love you, Ash” she smiled sweetly. “This is the best night of my life.”

“Mine too.”

He opened the console doors and pulled out the game of Operation. “Okay, you know I have wicked skill at this game, so let’s see if you can beat me. Winner gets to pick the next movie.”

“Oh, I’ve got this.”

They played games and watched movies all night. Incidentally, Ash let Monet win every time because he loved the little giggle she emitted and the dimples that popped up on her cheeks when she did. They fell asleep tangled together on the blanket, surrounded by pillows and very much in love.

Chapter 2

Harmony’s spring break had started with a bang. After almost ten years of living in California she’d moved home to Baton Rouge. Last night, she’d gone to the David plantation with Everett.
Had she thought her high school boyfriend would greet her with open arms?
It had been a disaster. Not even time had gentled his reaction to her.

Spring temperatures were still comfortable since they’d had one of the coldest winters on record. As she combed Dancer she watched his legs twitch with need.

“I guess you wanna stretch your legs, huh?”

The horse whinnied in affirmation. She loved her childhood home with the riding stables and rolling green fields. Unfortunately, their land shared a fence line with Ashton David’s.

She draped a blanket over Dancer’s back and then attached an English style saddle.

“All right girl, I could go for a long stretch too. What do you say we clear our heads?”

Dancer’s head dipped down and caressed her shoulder. “You’re not fond of subtlety are you?”

Harmony gathered some pellet supplements that could be fed to Dancer during their break. She didn’t know how long they’d be gone, but those nutrients would tide her over for a while.

She seated herself in the saddle with the efficiency of a professional and signaled Dancer into a nice trot. Knowing Dancer was itching to stretch her legs, Harmony warmed her into a cantor. When they were at the open and flat field Harmony signaled for a two-point gallop. Harmony assumed the position, hoping she was still in enough shape to carry it out. Standing in the stirrups she pitched slightly forward before signaling Dancer into a full-on gallop. Dancer took off with great speed, requiring detailed focus for its rider. Harmony knew she’d go for about a quarter mile sprint before slowing.

Back in a relaxed trot, Harmony surveyed the fields of Clark land. She was content to be moving back. For the most part the land was clear and flat, but a lot of it remained wooded. At the edge of the woods Harmony signaled Dancer into a walk. They approached cautiously, venturing deeper as twigs breaking under the weight of the horse and chirping cicadas lingered somewhere beneath the dense canopy of trees. Harmony knew these woods and was aware of where they led, and yet she kept moving forward, drawn by a spiritual connection—an invisible tether that could not be explained.

As the trees and brush began to thin horse and rider were upon the meadow separating Clark from David land. Spring was in the air and dozens of wild flower varieties lent their brush strokes to the canvas. Stepping from the forest and onto the open meadow Dancer whinnied, happy to be free from the dark clutches of the aged old oaks. Harmony dismounted and led Dancer along by the bridle.

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