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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter-eleven



Ash has morphed into softer colors, again. We are driving to the restaurant where reservations have been made. Every once in a while, he glances over and smiles. It’s a smile I’ve never seen before. It’s charming and full of unknows—like him.

I’m on a real date with Ash. It just hit me. I’m wearing a classy, black dress, Ash is still in the suit he had on from earlier. I watch as the street lamps light up his face as we pass by. He’s so beautiful, and I just want to reach over and touch him. We he let me? Will he ever?


“What’s on your mind?” he asks, like he generally cares.


“You. You seem so…different.”


He glances over with a serious look. “Is different bad?”


“No. I like it. You seem relaxed.”


“I feel relaxed, despite what will happen tomorrow.”


“I understand. It must have been hard losing your mother. And…your father must have loved her very much to want to have a memorial each year.”


“He only does it out of guilt.”


“Guilt?”


“Yes, my father was in the process of filing for a divorce right before she died.”


“Oh, I see. I can’t imagine how he must feel.”


“I want you to know that the memorial is also for my…brother,” he says with hesitation. “It’s the only reason I attend. He was innocent in the whole matter.”


“Ash?” I bite the inside of my cheek. I need to ask, and now seems to be the time. He’s opening up to me. “Was the picture of the little boy…was that your brother.”


I watch his chest rise and fall. This is really hard for him.


“His name was Christopher. I loved him very much.” He doesn’t look at me. And the word love sounds so foreign coming from his lips. He can love. It’s possible. And maybe it’s why he can’t love again. He lost his girlfriend, Pippa. And then his mother and brother. I’m beginning to understand him a bit more. Perhaps he loved too much, and now he’s just afraid.


“I’m so sorry. How long after that picture, did he die?”


“Six months later.”


He is only attending for his brother. But not his mother? “You said you’re only going for Christopher…but not your mother…?”


“She was my stepmother. Our relationship was…complicated.”


“I saw pictures of a woman at your home in Providence. She was very pretty. Was that your stepmother?”


He glances over with an icy stare. I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned it. I was snooping, but it’s not like they were hidden away.


“Yes, that was her. And, I don’t want to talk anymore about it. Not right now anyway.

Tomorrow…will be difficult for me. And…I’m sure you’ll have more questions. But for now, I just want to have dinner with the beautiful girl sitting next to me.”


He really just said that? So. Not. Ash.


“Yes, I understand,” I say and reach over to touch his hand. He glances down at it. His face softens. I’m waiting for that soft, sweet smile to reappear. It doesn’t. But at least he shared with me. It’s the most I can ask for at this time.


He pulls the car into the valet parking. The doors is opened for me, and Ash comes around and takes my arm, like we have done this a million times. My heart swells and I wonder if he feels any of this. Or, is it all too much.


We’re greeted by the host who takes us to our reserved table. I know he said Italian, but this place is over the top. Chandeliers, soft violin music, and a wait staff dressed like they’re going to the Oscars. So glad I chose this classy, black dress.


Will I be able to have wine? Probably not.


“Here you are, Mr. Sinclair. I hope this table suits you?”


“It’s nice. Thank you, Antonio,” he says to the host.


“You’re quite welcome, sir. Please, enjoy your evening. Miss,” he says, bowing to me. I smile and feel like a princess.


“I’m sure I will. Thank you.”


A candle flickers in the middle of the table, and I watch the flame dance in Ash’s eyes. The candle light softens his features, though I know he carries a hard exterior. He does this to protect himself, I know. But this is as far as I have gotten with him. I only hope after tomorrow, he doesn’t lock himself away.


“Ah, Mr. Sinclair. It is a pleasure to have you and your guest joining us tonight,” the waiter says, handing us menus.


“Thank you.”


He gives us the chef’s recommendations and then without asking, pours us both a glass of wine. I watch to see if Ash will stop him. He doesn’t.


“Shall I give you a few seconds to enjoy your wine and your lovely date before ordering?”


“Yes, that will be fine. Thank you,” Ash tells him.


He leaves, and Ash picks up is wine glass. “It will be the only glass you have tonight. It’s more for customary reasons,” he says.


I pick my wine up and clink his with a cheers. I want to toast to something, but where to I begin? “To better days,” I say.


He doesn’t elaborate or agree. He just takes his wine and then sets it back down. I take a sip and enjoy the warm liquid as it coats my stomach.


Ash begins looking over the menu, so I follow suit and look for something familiar. Everything is written in Italian, or something like Italian. I’m hoping to find something simple like lasagna or spaghetti.


“What is Dormice? Have you had it before?”


“No, and nor will you,” he says, like I’ve asked for something outrageously expensive.


“Why, what is it?”


“Stuffed mice with mince.”


“What!?”


“You’re looking at the strangest Italian food section.”


“Oh, my word. Who would eat that, and why?”


“Not me or you. I suggest the ossobuco.”


“And what is…oss…ossoboocoo?”


“It’s veal shanks with red wine sauce.”


Veal. That’s beef. More like baby cows. Kind of sad, really.


“Okay, I’ll go with your suggestion.”


There it is. That smile. I love it. If I could just keep him here.


The waiter returns and takes our order. Ash orders the same, so I know it’s something not gross like…mice.


I pick up my wine and take another sip. I feel happy. The music is softly playing, the lights are dim, Ash is smiling, and I feel like I’m dreaming.


I set my wine down and feel brave enough to ask the nest question. Maybe it’s the wine. “You said you will be staying the night…with me?”


“Yes.”


“So, what does that mean? We haven’t discussed a contract.”


“No, we haven’t.”


“Will we?”


He doesn’t say anything for some time. I’m losing him again. Man, he’s so confusing.


“I rather not base this…relationship on a contract. I’m trying to find my limits, and if I am to put together a contract, I know where my limits lie.”


Limits?


For some reason this gives me hope…for us.


“Okay. I wasn’t clear. So, where will you be sleeping…tonight?”


He looks over at me, his face a master of disguise. “With you.”


***

Saving Ash© 2024 Gina A. Jones rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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shannon Cheripka
Apr 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I really like this side of ash. He is trying.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Apr 19
Replying to

We’re back on. Chapter dropped each day. 🥰

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