More than Words

By

Nicole

Summary: After a tragedy, Ashley's life is turned upside down and she refuses to talk. But she finds that a connection with people can go beyond words.

More than Words

Chapter 1: The New Kid

Running, that's all she could think about was running. She let out a shriek as she just barely made it to the other side of the street during a crosswalk, cars blowing their horns as they barely missed her. She stopped and rested her hands on her knees a she was attempting to catch her breath again.

Looking at her watch, she made a face when she saw that she was still running late. She could see the Youth Center the next block over. Gathering her strength, fourteen-year-old Ashley Hammond ran down the block.

Reaching the Youth Center, she was relieved to see that the competition hadn't started yet. She rushed down the stairs, trying to make it to the other side where her friends were waiting for her when a leg nearly collided with her head. She immediately ducked out of the way, but she had lost her balance and fell on the floor with a yelp. "Whoa! Sorry, I didn't see you," a voice told her. Looking up, she stared up at a guy around her foster sister's age with shoulder-length wavy dark brown almost black hair and equally dark eyes. He held out his hand to her. "You okay?" he asked. She nodded, grasping his forearm and he pulled her up. "You're not hurt are you?" he asked. Ashley shook her head.

"Sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going," she signed to him.

He shook his head. "The point in martial arts is being aware of our surroundings, obviously I forgot," he answered. Ashley smiled a little. "My name is Tommy," he stated, "You are?"

"Ashley," she signed back.

"Ashley, are you looking for someone?" he asked.

She nodded, pointing to the group of teenagers on the other side. "You're Jason's opponent?" she signed.

"Looks like it," he replied.

Ashley gave him a slight nod. "Good luck, both of you," she signed before walking away.

"See ya," he answered.

Kimberly Hart raised her brow as Ashley walked over to her. "Well, that was a near disaster," she quipped. Ashley flushed.

"I got caught up at dance class," she signed.

"It's okay, you're here now," Kimberly replied, wrapping her arm around her shoulders.

Kimberly embraced the younger girl, making Ashley smile and hug her back. "How was dance class?" she asked.

"Good," Ashley signed.

Kimberly kissed the top of her head. "You've got this, Jason," they heard Trini say.

"I hope so," Jason replied.

Ashley walked over, embracing Jason around the waist. "Hey, glad you could make it," Jason told the younger girl. Ashley pulled back.

"There was no way I was going to miss this," She signed to him.

Jason hugged her again and Ashley hugged him a little tighter. "Alright, go for it," Zack told his friend. Jason let out a deep breath, going out onto the mats. Ashley stood next to Kimberly, watching the match. Ever since Ashley was eight-years-old, she had been living in the Hart household. Ashley easily became the little sister Kimberly never had. Ashley bit her lower lip, leaning against Kimberly as they watched the competition.

The competition ended in a draw for both competitors, Ashley couldn't help but notice her foster sister staring dreamily at Tommy. "Someone has a crush," Ashley signed teasingly at her. Kimberly playfully nudged her.

"We'll see him at school tomorrow maybe?" Trini suggested.

Kimberly nodded before the girls walked away to the juice bar.

That night, the girls arrived home and Mrs. Hart looked up. "How was it today?" she asked.

"It was a draw," Kimberly replied.

"But Kimberly saw a cute boy," Ashley signed.

Kimberly gave her a small glare and Ashley just smiled innocently. "Oh is that so?" Mrs. Hart asked, smiling at her daughter.

"It's nothing, mom," Kimberly insisted.

Mrs. Hart just smirked. "Well, dinner will be ready shortly," she informed them. Ashley went to put her backpack upstairs when she walked by a picture on the mantelpiece. It was of Mrs. Hart when she was a teenager, but she had two guys and a girl standing next to her.

The first of the guys was Ashley's father, he had dark brown hair and brown eyes, and he was wearing an Angel Grove High football uniform. His arm was around the other girl's waist, she had shoulder-length blond hair and hazel eyes. She had on a pair of black boots, blue jeans, a purple long shirt, and she had a single red carnation tucked behind her ear.

Mrs. Hart saw Ashley staring and walked over to her. "Your dad was quite the guy in high school," she commented. Ashley smiled a little, glancing at her foster mother. "He always had eyes for Sandra Scott too," she added.

"Dad never mentioned her," She signed.

Mrs. Hart shrugged her shoulders. "Kind of a sad story really, our senior year she just…disappeared," she replied. Ashley frowned, picking up the picture. "She and your dad broke up a week before graduation and then…none of us heard from her ever again," she added. Ashley bit her lower lip. "Your father loved you very much," Mrs. Hart added.

"I know," Ashley signed, "And I miss him."

"I know," Mrs. Hart answered, hugging the girl.

Ashley smiled sadly before she went upstairs and Mrs. Hart set the picture up on the mantelpiece again.

At school the next day, Ashley and Kimberly walked in together when they saw Jason waiting for them. "Hey," he greeted. Ashley waved at him smiling. "Ready for another awesome day at Angel Grove High?" he quipped as they walked down the hall.

"Sure, I have a test in biology today," she signed.

"Which she is going to ace!" Kimberly replied, wrapping her arm around Ashley's shoulders.

Ashley rolled her eyes. "You have way too much faith in my abilities," she signed.

"We studied for days on that test, you better ace it," Kimberly replied.

"Yeah, yeah," Ashley signed with a half-smirk.

Jason just grinned. "Alright, I will see you guys later," he told them.

"See ya!" Kimberly answered as Ashley waved.

The girls walked over to their lockers and once again, Bulk and Skull were there waiting for Kimberly. Kimberly rolled her eyes as she opened the door to her locker. "Hey, babe," Skull greeted her as he leaned against the locker next to hers, "Do you need a big, strong man to help carry your books for you?" He flexed his non-existent bicep, making Ashley roll her eyes.

"Dream on, Skull," she replied.

Bulk and Skull looked at each other. "I think it's time to teach her a lesson," Bulk commented. Ashley shook her head slowly as she leaned against another locker, waiting for her sister to get her books.

"Hey," a voice called out, making them all look up.

They saw the new kid from the competition there. "Didn't you hear the lady?" he demanded Bulk and Skull, "She said 'no'." The two bullies looked at each other.

"I think we should teach the new kid a lesson," Bulk commented.

Ashley watched with a smirk as Tommy did a bunch of martial arts moves to the two bullies, forcing them to run away terrified. Kimberly was giggling hysterically as the two bullies ran away terrified. "Thanks, that was great," Kimberly told him.

"No problem, see ya," he answered as he went to walk away.

Ashley picked her backpack up off the floor. "Hey!" Kimberly called out to him. Tommy stopped and turned around to look at her. "Um…I'm Kimberly…you're new around here aren't you?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'm Tommy," he replied, holding out his hand.

"Hi," Kimberly said smiling, shaking his hand.

Ashley just smiled as she left for her first class.

After school that day, Ashley was sitting at the table she normally sat at while Kimberly kept glancing over her shoulder. Ashley rolled her eyes, putting her book down. "What are you waiting for?" she signed. Kimberly let out a sigh.

"Sorry…I just…I thought Tommy would come," she replied, "I invited him to meet us here."

Ashley frowned to see the disappointment on her face. "Maybe he was caught up," Ashley signed. Kimberly frowned, but nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, maybe," she replied with a sigh.

Ashley patted her hand with a smile and Kimberly smiled back, holding her hand.