Asya's stepson, Noah, suffered from social anxiety. He was pretty much a normal child but everything changed suddenly when he was six. He witnessed a school shooting at his school and the massacre claimed 37 lives before the gunman committed suicide. The horrifying experience had its toll on him physically and mentally. His father had to move from New York to Connecticut to help his son get over it. He enrolled him in a new school but Noah kept dropping out. It was then that Ridge realized that Noah could not function in a school setting anymore so he had to enroll him in an online school in 2007.
When Asya and Ridge got married in 2015, it seemed too good to be true. She had a strong motherly affection for Noah that compensated her long years of infertility and Noah found in her the mother he always longed for and was deprived of. Ridge felt that his life is being held together tight again. Just when he thought he sunk in the darkest abyss of despair, Asya entered his life smoothly and stole his heart. Taking care of a troubled teenager was becoming very difficult for him along with his commitments as a History Professor in Wesleyan University. He wanted stability. He first saw Asya in a guitar recital event. Her performance was amazing. With her long red curly hair and sleek red velvet dress and the huge river painting behind her, she looked like a beautiful nymph from a Greek Legend. They had a short conversation after the recital that ended by exchanging phone numbers.
Everything happened so fast afterwards. They prepared a simple wedding and finally became a husband and wife. Asya loved the new house, it was big and luxurious. It was well-furnished with beautiful paneling and shiny hardwood floors. On her first day in the house, she decided to bury her dead and dusty past and start a new life.
Now she's married to an amazing man who loves her and a beautiful boy who considers her a mother. She naively thought that everything will go smooth but the future always holds unexpected surprises.
"Do you like it here?" Noah's voice came behind her.
She turned to him with a smile and said, "Yeah, it's so much better than I thought. What about you?"
"I don't like it." He murmured.
She raised her eyebrows in surprise and asked, "Why?"
"It's evil, I told Dad that I hate this house. It scares me." Noah uttered the words in disgust and fear.
There was a brief blank silence before Noah says, "You think it's my anxiety, right?"
Her lips moved to say something but he continued aggressively, "No one believes me anyway. No one takes me seriously."
"Noah, honey, relax. There is nothing to fear." Asya said softly trying to pacify him.
He threw himself on the nearest chair and started sobbing. Asya rushed to him and held him tightly. It was not the first time she witnessed his sudden break down moments.
"It's OK baby, it's OK." Asya whispered.
"I'm scared, mom." He said shakingly.
Her heart pounded strongly against her rib cage. It was the first time he called her mom. She didn't imagine that the simple three letter word could have such an effect on her.
"Dad told me you are unable to have children." Noah said, wiping his tears.
"Yes." She choked.
"I was also unable to have a mom, she left when I was very young. Can you be my mom?" He begged.
She couldn't help her tears and said, "Yes of course, baby, yes."
Later that afternoon they sat around the dining table eating and chatting. They were in a state of celestial joy, feeling like a family. Asya felt that she could finally pick up the pieces of her accumulated bitterness of failure and turn it into something euphoric. Ridge thought he would have some peace of mind and concentrate in his work. It looked like an ending of a fairy tale from a distance, where everyone is happy ever after. But who said it's a fairy tale? As the days went on, things started to become strange.
In the middle of the night, Asya woke up in panic at the sound of Noah screaming. She looked around her and Ridge was not by her side. It took her a couple of seconds to jump out of the bed and run to Noah's room.
"What's happening?" She inquired worriedly.
"It's just a bad dream." Ridge said in a tone that reflected that he is used to these midnight occurrences.
Noah was trembling all over and sweating heavily. He stopped screaming but he was mumbling unrelated words and phrases that she couldn't understand.
"It's happening, it's happening again." Noah said with difficulty, his lips shaking.
"Noah! It's a bad dream. Enough!" Ridge said sharply.
"I wanna go out of here! Please Dad! Please!" Noah begged.
"NOAH!" Ridge shouted angrily.
"Hey! Take it easy." Asya protested.
Ridge held Noah's head between his hands firmly and said, "Noah, you are fine. There is nothing to fear. Now I will give you the medicine it will help sleep." Then he continued stressing every word, "It's just a bad dream."
He headed to the bathroom to bring the sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet. As soon as he was far enough Noah looked at Asya with teary eyes and said, "Please help me."
"It's ok sweetheart, there is nothing to fear." Asya said, trying to pacify him.
"They are here, again. They were walking around and talking. They were calling my name." Noah whispered.
"There is no one here." Asya said though his words gave her goosebumps.
"Dad doesn't want to believe me." Noah murmured.
Ridge came back with the medicine and a glass of water. He handed the pills and the water to Noah and said, "Here you are, man."
Noah took the pills and lay back again.
"Please stay till I fall asleep." Noah said weakly.
"OK." Ridge said moving his fingers between Noah's soft brown hair.
It took Xanax about 15 minutes to kick in and take its effect. Ridge and Asya stayed beside him till they made sure he is sound asleep again.
"You look so pale, don't worry he's OK." Ridge whispered.
"He didn't seem OK to me, he looked tormented." Asya whispered back.
"Come on let us go to bed now." Ridge said putting his hands around her shoulders.