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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter-ten

Updated: Apr 21




School seems so different then it did a week ago. No longer am I wearing torn skinny jeans, T-shirts, and black converse shoes. I feel more like a girl from the cast of 90210. Something I’ve seen Sasha watch at times. She says it was one of her favorite old series when she was a teen.


Now I’m dressed above the teachers and brought to school by Ash’s driver in a black SUV. Everyone looks at me and some have asked if I was adopted by the president. One girl even asked if I got married to a rockstar. I’m not sure how to feel with all the attention. Because there’s so much I really can’t talked about. Maybe it was better when I was invisible.


It’s now Friday, and I haven’t seen or heard from Ash since the night he stormed out. I’ve spent every night alone, sketching in the huge penthouse. I can’t say I’m not enjoying my new crib, swimming laps in the heated pool, relaxing in the hot tub, and eating gourmet meals already prepared for me. And I don’t have to clean up after dinner. Breakfast is always at the table before I leave for school, and my lunch is always packed. It’s not always the same person. Sometimes food is delivered, and sometimes there’s a cook. I try and be nice and engage in conversation, but not all of them speak English. So, I smile and show my appreciation.


Grabbing my books from my locker, I then head to my last class of the day—Mr. Roderick’s class. Even he seems different toward me. Walking in, I feel all eyes upon me. It’s starting to creep me out. I try to ignore their looks and take my seat in the back of the class.


No more does Mr. Roderick begins his lecture when there’s a knock on the door. All I see is a note being handed to him from someone outside. He then looks to me.


“Ms.Cinder, you are needed in the office.”


Office? What did I do?


Every head is turned and looking at me. I hate it. I want to disappear.


I gather my things and stand to leave, and then feel eyes burn into my backside. I walk slowly down to the office, my mind swarming with thoughts of what it could be. And then there it is. Ash is standing right inside the office. He looks up when he sees me.


How am I to act toward him? Nothing was ever discussed about who I am to him when at school.


“Cinder, I need to take you out of school early today. Somethings come up,” he says so casually. What could it be?


“Oh? Has something…happened?”


“We’ll discuss later. I’ve already signed you out.”


I look at the receptionist who seems to be okay with whatever is going on. He could be a serial killer for all she knows, releasing me into the hands of a monster. I guess I could revoke. But I’m curious as ever and agree to follow him.


Once we’re outside, I see his Aston Martin parked at the curb. He helps me inside and then climbs in after. He looks gorgeous and I hate him for it. Would I be willing to give myself to an ugly man with no money? Sadly, probably not. Ash’s beauty and status is a trap that I have fallen into.


“Ash, can you tell me what this is about? I haven’t seen or heard from you in days. I think we need to talk about some boundaries here.” I have no idea why I said that. I guess I’m looking for answers.


“That’s what I want to discuss, boundaries.”


He does?


“Are… Are we talking about another contract?”


“No, not a contract,” he says, looking ahead as he drives away from the school. “I’ve decided to open up and share my past with you.”


He has?


“I must attend a memorial Saturday, and if you want to know more about me, then you must come with.”


“A memorial?”


“Yes, something my father does each year.”


“Okay. But who’s it for?”


He’s quiet for a for seconds. His jaw tightens, and I can the uneasiness in his being. “It’s for my mother,” he says like it was hard for him to get the words out.


“Oh, I see.”


“I will tell my father you are my girlfriend, so please, no mention of school.”


His…girlfriend!


“So, what do I say if he asks me?”


“He won’t. My father never asks, he only states.”


It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. And he needed to take me out an hour early from school just to tell me this? Not that I mind.


“Okay, I will go with you if that’s what you want. But is there a reason you couldn’t tell me this when I got home from school?”


“No, I just wanted to be with you,” he says, never taking his eyes from the road.


Be with me!


The rest of the drive is spent in silence and I decide not to say another word. He’s like that wild cat you’ve been trying to get close to. I feel we are closer than we have been. I just need to be patient and see what else he is willing to tell me.


But there is definitely something about the piano—and the butterflies.


***


There’s soft music playing when we step into the penthouse and the place smells like fresh brewed coffee. Are we going to talk some more? He still hasn’t said a word since he asked me to go with him Saturday.


“I thought you might like some coffee. I had some made for you.”


“Oh, thank you,” I say, sounding unclear.


He pours us both a cup, and we take a seat in the living area. I’m surprised with all the white going on. What if I spill some?


“So, how is school going?” he asks, like were long-time buds.


“Different. Everyone looks at me differently with the clothes and the driver.”


“Do you not like it?”


“It’s not that. It’s just a bit uncomfortable.”


“I see. Would you rather I bought you your own car?”


I’m not sure how to answer that. I want to ask about the elephant in the room. Hunter. Why he screamed Hunter’s name like he was in pain and then ran out.


Cinder, you’re dealing with a psychopath.


I take a sip of the coffee and bravely touch the topic. “I hope you aren’t mad at Hunter. It’s was my fault…”


“I’m not.”


“Ash, I’m really trying here. And I feel like we getting nowhere. So, I’m just going to spill it. Why were you screaming his name like he was here?”


I watch him bite the inside of his cheek. Does he even remember doing it? Maybe he experiences periods of blackouts.


“Hunter and I go way back. At one time, he was heavily addicted to drugs. He would do anything to get his next fix…”


He stops there and takes up his coffee. I wait.


“Was? So, he’s clean now?”


“Yes. I have him tested once a month as long as he’s working for me.”


“So, how did he get clean?”


“With my help.”


I wonder if it had something to do with his sister. It seems this ghost has so much power from the grave.


“Oh. Was it from the death of…his sister? Maybe he couldn’t handle her death?” Nor can you.


“No, it was long before that. Hunter had a bad start in life. And he turned to drugs to cope. I can understand, since I cope in other ways.”


“Other ways?”


“Yes. My lifestyle.”


So, there is a reason he’s fucked up.


“Is this something you can share with me.” I’m pushing it and will see how far I can.


“In time. Right now, it’s the most I have opened up with anyone. There’s something about you Cinder that gives me comfort. And it’s strange to say, but comfort is uncomfortable for me. I need to find out how far I can go, before it destroys me.”


I have no idea what that even means. So, I nod my head and pretend to understand.

He’s looking at me peculiarly. I think it’s good. His hand comes and smoothes strands of hair behind my ear. It’s so not like him. I smile and remain still, hoping I can lure him in. His eyes move to my lips. Does he want to kiss me? I want him to.


“You’re very pretty, Cinder. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the other night.”


“Thank you.” And yes, about the other night…


“Cinder, I know I’m a confusing man and I hope to change that. I just don’t know if I can.  I hope you will be patient with me. I’ve never been in a relationship without a contract. I know what I want and when I want it. There are things I just don’t know how to do. It’s never been in my makeup.”


“Ash, you couldn’t have been born this way. It’s not human nature.”


“Maybe I’m not human,” he says and takes another sip of coffee. It’s almost eerie.


I laugh. “Of course you’re human. You desire things. You feel things. That’s all part of being human. Do you know what could have happened to have made you like this?”


“Yes.”


And…


He looks at his watch. “I told the cook we will be eating out tonight. I’ve made reservations for dinner. I hope you’re okay with Italian?”


“Yes, Italian sounds great.”


“And, I will be staying here, tonight.”


I try not to look surprised or…excited. But I am. Totally. I smile and look into his eyes. “I would like that. This place is wonderful, but it does get lonely.”


He looks at me like he doesn’t understand. Maybe he isn’t human.


“Have you been working on your art? I could make a studio for you here.”


“Yes, I have been. And this place is awesome enough. It’s the best studio I’ve ever been in.”


“I’m glad you like it.”


This is nice. Just sitting here having a normal, casual conversation and sipping coffee. How long will I have him like this? And…I do miss the sex. How can I ask about that? Maybe I don’t, and just see what happens tonight. Or, does he not have sex without a contract?


“Ash…?”


“Yes?”


I hesitate. It’s right there on the tip of my tongue. SEX! Ask him. “This was nice. Thank you for the talk. And, I look forward to meeting your father tomorrow.”


He doesn’t say a word and looks away. I’ve lost him. Again.


***


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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angie jones
Apr 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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Brooke
Apr 03

Please please please let Ash open up. I want these two together



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shannon Cheripka
Apr 03

Ash is really trying to. I hope Cinder can help him. Worried about the meeting with his father.

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