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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter-seven




I have so many questions I’m dying to ask him—Hunter’s sister, his nightmares, the boy in the picture. The pictures in the box. Will they all be explained to me? Right now, Ash’s color is soft—like lilacs. His mood is tender—vulnerable. But I know that can all change in an instant.


Just like he said, someone shows up and begins clearing the table. We’re still outside on the balcony. The sun is beginning to set over the city. From way up here above the buildings, I can actually see it. The colors are pink and purple.


Ash stares out over the city. He’s been very quiet all through dinner and this evening. Does he know how to communicate when not in a contract with a woman? I’m beginning to think not.


I don’t know whether to wait, or just dive in with the questions.


I walk over and stand next to him. He glances down at me, and I see fear in his eyes.


“Ash, you seem…distant, like you’re afraid of something.”


“Do I?”


“Yes.”


He returns his gaze back to the city. “I am afraid, Cinder.”


“Afraid of what?”


“You.”


Me?


“I don’t understand. You wanted me here. You sought me out and brought me here. And now, you’re telling me…you’re afraid of me?”


“You are the first person I’ve agreed to share more about myself. And I know it won’t be easy. You have no idea the darkness that surrounds me. Things you may learn about my past. Things that have been locked away for years.”


“Things that have kept you from moving on,” I boldly say.


“I have moved on, Cinder. The lifestyle you have witnessed with me, is me moving on. It’s a way I can control my demons. Control my desires. The terrible things I want to do.”


Can it be worse than he lets on?


“Okay, I understand bringing up the past and how it can hurt. But I’m not here to judge you, Ash. Maybe if I know what…what happened to you years ago, I will be able to handle your darkness.”


“Oh, trust me. There will be a judgement day. And once you’ve seen into my past…”


He stops there. I watch the tick in his jaw and know his color is about to change to black. It’s like he prefers to live in the darkness.


I reach over and touch his arm. His breath hitches in his throat and he closes his eyes. I need to keep him calm. Keep him in a safe place where he feels protected and happy.


The piano.


“Ash, I would love to listen to you play some more on the piano. Can you do that?”


He slowly opens his eyes and glances down at me. There it is. His colors warming and cooling. His face softens, and I watch the sweetness in his eyes. He suddenly seems childlike—youthful.


“You really like to hear me play?”


“Yes, I do. You’re very gifted.”


He continues to look at me, his eyes slowly blinking with a faraway look in them. I think it’s…good?


“Yes, I will play for you,” he says, and takes me by the arm.


Definitely something about the piano.


He leads me back to the piano room, and I take a seat on one of the leather chairs. I sink in, feeling like it will swallow me up. The room is dim now that the sun has faded away into the evening sky.


He removes his suit coat and rolls up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. Something about his forearms turn me on. It’s sexy and I don’t really know why. They’re just arms.


He takes a seat at the piano bench and begins to play. And again, it’s breathtaking. I know I’ve heard this song before. But have no idea the name. It’s fluttery and light. He seems to enjoy this song as well. He looks to be fading into that happy place again. Locked away with good memories.


How far back does he need to go to get there? A baby, a young child…a teen when he was in love with Hunter’s sister? This is where I want to start. Her, Pippa.


Why did he love her so much?  What was it about her? Why can’t he get over her?


He continues to play getting lost in his song, and I feel like he’s with her. Was this her favorite song? Is he giving me clues inside the path to his past?


I suddenly want him to stop. Be in the present with me. See what I have to offer him. But what is that? I have nothing. I more of a burden to him.


But he wants me here.


I swallow down the lump of bitter jealousy in my throat and listen to the beauty created with Ash’s fingers. I watch his colors fade into a white sea of bliss. The corners of his mouth tip up into a curve. It’s the beginning of a smile…and I actually hate it. He only ever smiles when he lost somewhere with her. Her ghost. How will I ever save Ash, if I lose myself in the process?


I concentrate on his fingers, long and smooth as they delicately play the keys. It’s like he’s making love with the piano. Ash doesn’t make love—he said so. If he could only see how beautiful he looks in this light. The softness he gives to each note.


I’ve only ever seen those hands with anger and frustration. Though he’s never hit me with his bare hands, but has used instruments of play to inflict pain. But that pain also gave pleasure. Who would know?


The music begins to build and it doesn’t sound like it belongs in the song. It sounds angry now. His fingers pound down hard. His face is contorted. He looks to be in pain. I can see him shaking, his fingers trembling. Should I make him stop?


He’s turning to black again. The white sea of bliss has gone back out to a lost time. He’s back to grey, then to black as he slams the cover over the keys and falls down over it. He’s breathing hard.


I must go to him.


“Ash. What’s wrong? You were happy. You were playing so beautifully. Did something happen?”


He’s still leaning over the piano. I feel the heat radiate off him. His colors are coming to swallow me up. I can’t be scared. I must allow myself to enter his dark world, so I can bring him back. I must make him…angry.


“What did she do to you?” I asks sternly.


With his body still collapsed over the piano he turns his head and looks at me. He’s breathing hard. His eyes are black. So much pain. So much darkness. So much a mystery.


“Tell me! Give me this one thing!”


He stands abruptly and overturns the piano bench. It crashes to the wall and wooden splitters fly in the air.


I jump.


I watch his hands that were once so delicate on the piano now ball up, wanting to punch—hit something. Me?


I take two steps back and prepare to run out of this room. Then where? Is this where it ends? Do I even want to continue?


I do.


“Ash, calm down. You’re safe. You’re with me in your own place. I’m here for you. I want to help you, Ash.”


“Help? I don’t think you can.”


“Why? Why do you say that? She’s dead. She would want you to move on.”


His head suddenly jerks to attention and he glares at me with…evil?


"Don't think you know her. You have no idea what she’s capable of…”


“Capable? Don’t you mean, was capable of?”


“NO!”


I take two more steps back. I look behind me to see how far the door is from me. He’s scaring me. Maybe there’s really nothing special about him at all. Maybe he suffers from delusions and thinks she’s still here—telling him he’s not allowed to move on. Maybe she’s really not dead. But Hunter said she was. He wouldn’t lie about his sister being dead. But how well do I really know Hunter?


“Hunter told me she’s dead. She was his sister. This much do I know.”


“Hunter,” he breathes out. He then rakes his hands through his hair and then begins to make painful, crying, howling noises. He’s hysterical, calling out Hunter’s name. Or, yelling his name—I can’t tell. Does he need Hunter?


Nooooo,” he screams, pulling at his hair. “Not Hunter. Why?”


What is going on? He’s like a frightened animal, pacing in his cage. I’m sure he’s not happy with Hunter, letting me in on something that was private to him. But this is way beyond weird. Why not just have it out with Hunter, fist fight like men do. But no. He’s down on all fours, moaning and crying, repeating, ‘Not Hunter. Not Hunter.’


Is he this upset with Hunter breaking his trust?


“Ash, it’s okay. It was my fault. I kept asking questions. Hunter was short with his answers. That’s all I know—that she’s dead, her name was Pippa, and you yelled her name in your sleep.” I don’t say that Hunter told me they dated.


He’s still rocking back and forth on the floor. I don’t even know this color of him. It frightens me more than when he’s just mad. I don’t know how to get him back.


I bravely walk over and bend down to his level. Slowly, I touch his back. “Ash, I know she’s gone…but…”


He jerks away, looks at me with disgust, and morphs back into all black before he slowly stands. “She will never be gone. She lives in me. I…am now her.”


I’m left on the floor, as he walks with angry strides out the door.


***


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
Mar 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Mar 07
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dashafehrenbacher
Mar 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I honestly thought Ash was going to shift into a werewolf in this chapter. I guess I've been reading too much paranormal romance. 😃

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Mar 07
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shannon Cheripka
Mar 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Ash is so vulnerable right now...

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