It's mid afternoon and Amy's outside.
She doesn't really have much in the way of a backyard. The house isn't a huge one, after all, and the yard follows suit. The fact that she has a backyard at all is probably testament enough to the effort her mom puts into running and keeping Lester Auto going. Who knows what Amy has been up to this summer so far ... but right now, she's outside in the backyard, where's she's got herself a punching bag setup (it's a pretty makeshift rig) and with her hands taped up, she's going at it. Her white t-shirt and her jeans and her boots make up her usual sort of outfit as she just kinda glares at the sporting equipment while laying into it. Thankfully, it doesn't mind. It's kind of what it's designed for!
With Amy laying into the punching bag with gusto, she may not here the car that drops off a visitor. She may not even hear the weak knock on the front door. But she will probably hear the gate to the backyard squeak open. It is Ashley.
Dressed in the same clothes that Amy last saw her in, albeit they are now in quite a rough and dirty state...much like the teen herself. A little thinner. A little more haggard. But that stubborness is still in her eyes. That pride that holds her head high even while the rest of her is staggering towards the boxer. "Amy?" she squeaks weakly, summoning up her first smile in a long time.
Indeed, the girl doesn't hear the car, doesn't hear the knock at the door. And Amber Lester is out, it seems. Likely at work. Does she even hear the gate? It's kind of debatable because she's still just laying into the bag. One-two-three. A rapid series of three hit combinations. It's only when that voice speaks up that she actually glances. It's almost like an afterthought. Her eyes widen and she just sort of stands there, kinda struck speechless. She blinks and takes a step forward, struggling for a couple of moments to find the words as she reaches a hand towards Ashley. Like she's not sure the other girl is even real.
"How the fuck?" She wonders after a moment, finding her voice, but it's a quiet whisper.
"Hey" Ashley whispers, her eyes a little moist. "Remember me?" A soft little laugh which turns into a cough before she opens her arms. "Hug?" Ashley doesn't look too far from collapsing, so it may be a necessity rather than a desire. "I've missed you so much." Tears start to trickle down her cheeks, cutting through the dirt on her skin.
Amy is just suddenly there, a hand reaching out to support Ashley. It's sort of a hug too, as she holds the girl up, her own eyes glistening with moisture as she still doesn't seem to quite believe what is happening. "I ..." she croaks, and then shakes her head, unable to find the words. Instead it's just a sort of cry of disbelief, relief, and a whole lot of anguish as she suddenly just clutches Ashley to her, practically crushing the other woman.
Ashley winces at the tight hug but she wouldn't swap it for the world. She sinks into the embrace, her body shuddering with sobs of happiness. Her arms as tight around Amy as she can manage...but there is not much strength in them. "Are you okay? I was worried about you. Worried about what you might do." Despite all she has been through, Amy was never away from her thoughts. She sniffles up her tears and turns her head to weakly kiss Amy's cheek. "Could I get a drink of water?"
"OhmygodhowareyouevenhereallIreallydidwasworry," Amy kinds of blurts out with tears of her own now, making her words a bit tricky to decipher, but the intent is pretty clear. She relaxes her grip just slightly. "Fucking hell yes. Of course. I ... I just don't even. Come on. You need a shower too." And then she's practically scooping up Ashley to gingerly carry her inside. Because who knows what the once Prom-Queen has been through.
Ashley sniffs at herself and winces once more. Yes, she is rather smelly. Being in a small room for over a week and walking across a desert will do that. She rests her head against Amy, arms wrapped around her, feeling truly safe for the first time in a long time. "Can I have a bath?" she asks hopefully - the Prom Queen is returning. Ashley's legs and feet ache. She is hungry and thirsty. She is tired. But she is also incredibly happy that she is home and in the arms of the woman she loves. "So much to tell you" she says softly, like she may fall asleep at any moment.
"You can have whatever you want." Amy says kind of awkwardly as she takes Ashley inside and pretty much straight to the bathroom. "And don't worry about whatever you have to tell me. It can wait." She nods the once. Setting Ashley down in the bathroom and starting to run the bathwater. Ash nods her head a little. "I'll be back in a second," she says quietly as she also goes to get a glass of water for Ashley, returning as soon as possible with it. "You need some rest. Oh my god, Ashley." She says again, glancing aside as she just seems to keep on keeping busy. Things to do, not really letting herself stop and think.
Ashley grabs at Amy to stop her leaving when she says she will be back in a second. Fear in her eyes at being alone before she slowly lets her go and nods in understanding. "Don't be long" she smiles, though she means it. By the time Amy returns, Ashley has peeled off her clothes - her hot pants had to be litterally peeled off her - and she stands there, watching the bath fill. Staring at the water, lost in her thoughts, before she starts at the return of her girlfriend. A momentary panic before realising who it is. Her smile returns. Trembling hands reach out for the water. "Thank you."
"I'm just getting you something to drink as well," Amy explains before vanishing. Now she's just testing the temperature of the water and staring at it in thought, watching it fill. "For ... for what?" She wonders quietly, and then shakes her head. "No, don't answer. Don't worry, just relax and rest, okay? Get clean and we can talk after you've rested." She suggests, offering a half smile that is something uncertain. "This is almost ready. Careful, the water will be hot."
"Hot water would be nice" Ashley sighs. "Stay with me" she gently pleads. "I don't want to be alone." She dips a toe into the water. It is definitely hot but it's what she needs for her aching muscles...and mind. Even as the water continues to fill the bath, she steps into it. One hand on Amy to ensure she doesn't lose her balance. Slowly she sinks into the water, closing her eyes, letting the heat sooth her sore muscles. "Stay with me" she repeats quietly.
Amy closes her eyes a moment at that gentle pleading, the motion causing a tear or two to roll down her cheek. She reaches a hand up to wipe them away, glancing up against to help Ashley down into the water properly, to soak good and proper. It's not the largest or most luxurious tub but it gets the job done. "I'm not going anywhere, Ash." She promises quietly. "I'll be here the whole time. We'll clean you up, and you can rest."
"Thank you" Ashley replies, bringing Amy's hand close so that she can rest her head upon it. "I love you, Amy. Even more than I did before..." She can't bring herself to name what happened yet. Later, after she's rested and been restored by the proximity of Amy. She is obviously the first place that Ashley came to. Her family doesn't even know she is back yet. "Can you wash me?" Nothing sexual in her request, Ashley is simply exhausted.
Making a bit of a 'shh'ing sound, Amy gives a sort of nod of her head. "Of course," she says quietly. Normally she probably wouldn't have the patience for these sorts of things, but right now she has all the patience in the world and she sets about doing exactly that. Soap. Washer. Her gentle, strong touch. Reassuring, cleaning. "I should have ... done something." She says quietly. "I don't know. Gotten you out of there sooner, I couldn't ..." she cuts off and shakes her head. "Later. We'll talk about it all later."
"You tried. I know you tried. But it would have done no good for you to be captured too." Ashley is rather content to be washed. Sleep approaching her tired body. "It's okay. We got out." A long pause before she adds. "Arthur is still there. He didn't want to leave." She is not happy to have to say that, and she still doesn't understand why he would do that. "It's not over yet, Amy. I'll tell you everything." A yawn. "Later."
Amy's face darkens in expression a little, but she otherwise doesn't say anything as Ashley speaks. Not until that 'Later' comment and she nods. "Later," she agrees. She has ideas of her own, perhaps. But now, instead, she just focuses on her task at hand. Getting Ashley clean. Washing her hair proper. And while she works, she talks still. Just idle, mundane chatter. Anything really. How summer has been so far. Having to work at her mom's shop, what that's been like. It's kind of odd and strained in points, but she's just letting the sound of her voice be there. Soon enough it's going to be time to get out of the bath, and Amy is going to easily carry Ashley to her room. A clean bed after that should do a lot for Ashley. "Just sleep, Ash. I'll stay with you until you wake up."